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Acclaimed nature writer to launch new book in Diss

PUBLISHED: 11:11 21 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:31 25 September 2019

Richard Mabey will be appearing at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Elizabeth Orcutt

Richard Mabey will be appearing at Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Elizabeth Orcutt

Archant

One of Britain's finest natural history writers will be launching his latest book at a special event in Diss.

Turning the Boat for Home: A Life Writing About Nature by Richard Mabey that the writer will launch at an event in Diss. Picture: Chatto & WindusTurning the Boat for Home: A Life Writing About Nature by Richard Mabey that the writer will launch at an event in Diss. Picture: Chatto & Windus

Richard Mabey - the father of modern nature writing in the UK - will look back over his lifetime writing about the natural world with writer and friend, Terence Blacker, as he celebrates the publication of Turning the Boat for Home: A Life Writing About Nature.

Since 1972, Mabey, who moved to the Waveney Valley on the Suffolk/Norfolk border around 15 years ago, has written some 40 influential books including the classic Food For Free - a complete guide to safely identifying edible species - though he regards Nature Cure as perhaps the most personally satisfying.

"Writing about moving to East Anglia and recovering from depression was fantastically rewarding in Nature Cure," he recalled.

"I was venturing into a place I had not gone to before, it was more about myself and writing it in real time, moving from the hills of the Chilterns to the flatlands of East Anglia and about the impact the change of landscape had on me. It is about the Broads but embedded in a much more serious story and the feedback I have had on it for the last 10 years has been astonishing.

"At the other end of the scale is Flora Britannica, it is a kind of magnus opus and I shall rightly share the laurels with the tens of thousands of people that contributed their own experiences to me."

His latest book includes pieces from his rich writing life that reflect on how his ideas evolved. Introduced and curated by him, it is arranged in four parts: early influences; writing about plants; the politics of the natural world; and the 'new nature writing'.

From a new viewpoint, 'the slow-moving carapace' of a boat on the Norfolk Broads, it sees Mabey pondering the migration of geese and the home-loving whirligig beetles. His epiphany is that a sense of "neighbourliness" may be the best model for our relationship with the rest of the living world.

- Turning the Boat for Home: A Life Writing About Nature is published by Chatto & Windus on October 3.

- Richard Mabey will be talking about the book at Diss Corn Hall on October 3, 7.30pm, £8, 01379 652241, disscornhall.co.uk

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