Letters with Ben Rawlence

Am really happy to share this exchange of letters with Ben Rawlence, author of The Treeline and founder of Black Mountains College, on the Granta website. I got a lot out of the conversation – not least my focus on starling murmurations, which now seem to turn up in everything I say… Murmurations mean collaboration and it’s an honour to have such collaborators as Ben and, of course, Jay Griffiths. In fact, the three of us spent Saturday evening hunched over the table (where I’m typing now) dreaming up yet more plans.

Open Book

This is on Sunday if you fancy a listen. As you can see, I’d been listening to something about Stevie Smith when I took this screenshot. I’ve had a run of literary listening lately. I particularly recommend Crafting with Ursula. Ursula K Le Guin is one of the two writers I’ve been rereading in the past year or two who has left me wondering where I’ve been. The other is Tove Jansson.

General thanks

So many thanks to everyone who has come to and made possible all the Sarn Helen events of the past two weeks – in Cardiff, Brecon, Hay, Crickhowell, Mold and Oswestry. Every event this week has been sold out. I’ve just been blown away by it all: the warmth, the kindness and, perhaps above all, the willingness of so many people to engage with the issues of the climate and ecological crisis. It does seem that there has been a sea change in attitudes sometime over the past few years, that it has now become possible to speak publicly of these things without the self-consciousness – even the shame – that could once so often be the case. Sometimes, these days, there can seem genuine grounds for hope.

At Hay Castle with two of Jackie Morris’s magnificent images
Talking with the wonderful Carrie Morris (no relation to my knowledge…) on Thursday, at Booka in Oswestry