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The Blackbird Diaries

A year with wildlife


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With its enchanting song, striking orange bill and endearing willingness to share our living space, the blackbird is one of our best-loved birds. And, in common with all our garden wildlife, it plays a critical role in Britain’s fragile and precious biodiversity.

In The Blackbird Diaries, Karen Lloyd shares her deep-rooted knowledge and affection for the flora and fauna of these isles. And she issues a clarion call for the conservation of endangered habitats and species – most notably the curlew, Europe’s largest wading bird.

Over the four seasons, Karen intimately chronicles the drama of the natural world as it all unfolds in her garden and in the limestone hills and valleys of Cumbria’s South Lakeland. What emerges is a celebration of landscapes that rarely feature in nature writing. But more than that, at a time of critical species loss, she offers rare insights into the lives of animals that may be common but are no less remarkable. 

Prizes and awards

Lakeland Book of the Year 2018, WINNER of the Bookends Prize for Art and Literature

REVIEWS OF The Blackbird Diaries

"A writer of rare talent, always with a sharp eye and an open heart, Lloyd quietly and unassumingly shares her observations of nature, drawing you into a world made rich with the company of birds." Miriam Darlington, BBC Wildlife

"Sure to delight readers and fans of British wildlife… The writing is eloquent and enables the readers to conjure the scenes in their mind…Like all good nature writing books, Lloyd’s prose is to be savoured. Not raced through and devoured like the latest crime thriller, but to be absorbed, enjoyed and reflected upon." Megan Shersby, BBC Countryfile

"Captivating… A charming and informative account." Katharine Norbury, Caught by the River

Trade information

  • Rights: UK and Commonwealth
  • BIC code(s): WNB
  • BISAC code(s): NAT0000000

The Blackbird Diaries

About the author

Karen Lloyd

Karen Lloyd is a writer of creative non-fiction and poetry and a wildlife conservationist specialising in ground-nesting birds. Based in Kendal, Cumbria, she is a contributor to the GuardianBBC Countryfilemagazine, Scottish Island ExplorerScotland Outdoorand the Caught by the Riverblog. Karen is a member of Kendal’s Brewery Poets and gained a distinction from the Creative Writing M.Litt programme at Stirling University. Her first book, The Gathering Tide, won a Lakeland Award and was selected in the Observerbooks of the year feature for 2016.

Praise for The Gathering Tide:

Winner of a Lakeland Award 2016

“A fine landscape memoir.” Katharine Norbury, Guardian

“Entrancing…exquisite descriptions…sparkles with lyrical imagery.” Miriam Darlington, BBC Wildlife

“Creates its own kind of song-line along the edge of one of England’s last and richest wilderness areas…Full of earthy realism, authentic observation and quiet lyricism…a hugely impressive debut.” Mark Cocker

“A vivid book with a landscape at its heart, redolent with the tang of original imagery.” Jim Crumley

“Evocative, muscular…and a no-nonsense earthy quality to the writing – pleasingly Cumbrian!” Kathleen Jamie