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  • Published: 7 March 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784703462
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $19.99

Ground Work

Writings on People and Places



A timely collection of the best British nature writing newly commissioned by one of the great authorities on the subject.

The essential and defining new collection of the best British nature writing

‘Tim Dee has brought together a wonderous array of talent for this life-affirming, often magical anthology’ Observer

We are living in the anthropocene – an epoch where everything is being determined by the activities of just one soft-skinned, warm-blooded, short-lived, pedestrian species.

How do we make our way through the ruins that we have made?

This anthology tries to answer this as it explores new and enduring cultural landscapes, in a celebration of local distinctiveness that includes new work from some of our finest writers. We have memories of childhood homes from Adam Thorpe, Marina Warner and Sean O’Brien; we journey with John Burnside to the Arizona desert, with Hugh Brody to the Canadian Arctic; going from Tessa Hadley’s hymn to her London garden to caving in the Mendips with Sean Borodale to shell-collecting on a Suffolk beach with Julia Blackburn.

Helen Macdonald, in her remarkable piece on growing up in a 50-acre walled estate, reflects on our failed stewardship of the planet: ‘I take stock.’ she says, ‘During this sixth extinction, we who may not have time to do anything else must write now what we can, to take stock.’

This is an important, necessary book.

  • Published: 7 March 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784703462
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Tim Dee

Tim Dee has been a birdwatcher all his life. His first book, TheRunningSky (2009), described his first five birdwatching decades. In the same year he collaborated with the poet Simon Armitage on the anthology The Poetry of Birds. Since then he has written and edited several critically acclaimed books: FourFields (2013), a study of modern pastoral, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Ondaatje Prize; GroundWork (as editor, 2017), a collection of new commissioned writing on place by contemporary writers; and most recently, Landfill (2018), a modern nature–junk monograph on gulls and rubbish. He left the BBC in 2018 having worked as a radio producer for nearly thirty years. He lives in three places: in a flat in inner-city Bristol, in a cottage on the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens, and in the last-but-one house from the south western tip of Africa, at the Cape of Good Hope.

Also by Tim Dee

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Praise for Ground Work

Tim Dee has brought together a wondrous array of talent for this life-affirming, often magical, anthology of nature writing.

Katharine Norbury, Observer

This superb anthology is a paean to spirit of place in dislocated times... And it is a trove.

Barbara Kiser, Nature

The anthology for me became a kind of pilgrimage: Canterbury Tales with Tim Dee leading his merry band to the new Common Ground site in Dorset... This collection about how to live lightly in the world and care deeply for its future… is overwhelmingly a message of hope.

Sue Brooks, Caught by the River **Book of the Month**

In Ground Work, Tim Dee has collated… An amazing vein of prose from some of the best nature and landscape writers around… A truly excellent book.

Paul Cheney, Nudge

Dee, who has the eyes of a birdwatcher, the ears of a radio producer and the soul of a poet, has gathered… this wonderful anthology.

Michael Kerr, Daily Telegraph

Profoundly movingdelightfulextremely beautifully written.

Sara Maitland, Tablet

The book has enjoyable, wonderfully evocative and deeply thoughtful contributions that should be widely read.

Rob Hume, Birdwatch

There is a great deal that is beautiful, and thought-provoking, in this collection

Erica Wagner, New Statesman

[T]hese rich and varied essays bring together people from diverse backgrounds and geographies

PD Smith, Guardian

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