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  • Published: 2 May 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473558861
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

On the Red Hill

Where Four Lives Fell Into Place




A multi-layered memoir of love, acceptance, finding home and the redemptive power of nature.

WINNER OF THE WALES BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2020SHORTLISTED FOR THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE 2020__________________________'A moving story of love, tradition and landscape.' Evening Standard, 'Books of the Year'

'A moving, multilayered memoir... extraordinary, ambitious... its scope is immense. A book that is deep in riches.' Simon Callow, Guardian

'A marvellous book... an uplifting tale of tranquillity sought and found in the nearest Britain gets to paradise.' Simon Jenkins

'There are worlds on worlds within this lyrical and profoundly cultured book. In an age of toxic artifice, this is the most necessary medicine: the tenderness of reality and the living, elemental, world.' Jay Griffiths __________________________A multi-layered memoir of love, acceptance, finding home and the redemptive power of nature.In 2006, Mike Parker and his partner Peredur were witnesses at the civil partnership of their friends Reg and George, the first in the small Welsh town of Machynlleth. Years later, when Reg and George died within a few weeks of each other, Mike and Peredur discovered that they had been left their home: a whitewashed 'house from the children's stories', buried deep within the hills. On the Red Hill is the story of Rhiw Goch, 'the Red Hill', and its inhabitants, but also the story of a remarkable rural community and a legacy that extends far beyond bricks and mortar. It is a story that celebrates the turn of the year's wheel, of ever-changing landscapes, and of the family found in the unlikeliest of places.

Highly commended by the judging panel for the 2020 Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing__________________________'A delightful book about beauty, joy, love and home... to be celebrated and read.' Sara Maitland

'A great queer rural triumph of a book - wonderfully passionate, funny and insightful. It overflows with love.' Tom Bullough

  • Published: 2 May 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473558861
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

About the author

Michael Parker

Michael Parker has worked for over twenty years at Saatchi & Saatchi and is one of the UK’s most experienced pitch coaches, having taken part in over 1000 pitches. As well as this, Michael has competed as a hurdler in two Olympics, so he knows what it takes to perform under pressure. He now brings this experience to coaching, ranging from the one-to-one interviews to major public speeches: www.pitchcoach.co.uk

Also by Michael Parker

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Praise for On the Red Hill

On the Red Hill is an extraordinary book: brave and ground-breaking. It is far more than a queer and Welsh Howards End. Gossipy, inquisitive, confessional, lyrical, elegiac and camp-ly witty by turns, Parker offers us an unexpected and important meditation on change and on belonging, presenting four different gay lives associated with a single house. He shows us what it is that makes these lives matter.

Peter J. Conradi

A marvellous book. It is an uplifting tale of tranquillity sought and found in the nearest Britain gets to paradise.

Simon Jenkins

Intense, fascinating account of queer lives in rural Wales over almost five decades ... holds a mirror up to the often hidden gay lives of the past century ... The result, in prose as swooping as the birds that teem about the house, is an important study of everyday gay life before and after decriminalisation. It is also (for Parker is nothing if not ambitious) an intimate account of the stunning natural beauty of this part of Wales, and its proud history ... By turns euphoric and melancholy, he matches his emotions to the seasons ... It is through this unusual book, a lovely hybrid of memoir, panegyric and queer history, that Parker too ... seems at last to find his own noddfa - sanctuary - and with it a sense of belonging.

Daily Telegraph

Structurally innovative, linguistically precise, and emotionally enervating, On the Red Hill is a praise-poem to adventure, belonging, the power of nature and, above all, to the resilience of human beings and the love between them. Parker's great strength and passion is in illuminating certain hidden strata of these islands, in the unearthing and re-telling of stories silenced by the forces of political history; here, he applies those talents to his own biography, and to some of those blessed enough to share it. He has produced a beautiful, immersive and - in these testing times - vital and necessary book.

Niall Griffiths

Ostensibly set in one house in rural Wales, there are worlds on worlds within this lyrical and profoundly cultured book. In an age of toxic artifice, this is the most necessary medicine: the tenderness of reality and the living, elemental, world.

Jay Griffiths

On the Red Hill is a beautifully crafted journey into the most intimate space the author can possibly share- his home. The story of Rhiw Goch and its inhabitants is an intricately woven celebration and acknowledgment of life in modern rural Wales, always gripping, often romantic but never sentimental. This is the story of four men, two couples, one house, and the benevolent presence of Rhiw Goch is the protagonist in this story. The seasons colour the pages in vivid greens and deep russets, and the closeness to nature is raw and honest. The footpaths, streams and trees that surround the house are ever-present, even when Mike Parker is covering topics as diverse as the Second World War, trends in photography, and the gay history of Wales. There is a flow to this book which is in turn fascinating, funny, moving and touching. Mike Parker has long established himself as the master of capturing Wales, having managed time and time again to map the contours and cultures of the country with his words. With On the Red Hill, he surpasses himself. This is the truest version of modern Welsh life I have ever read.

Manon Steffan Ros

A great queer rural triumph of a book – wonderfully passionate, funny and insightful. It overflows with love.

Tom Bullough

This generous-hearted memoir is a fresh take on writing about living in rural Wales. It places love – of partner, of domestic life in an old landscape, between generations and neighbours – at the centre of nature writing. Rhiw Goch is a hospitable house to residents and reader alike.

Gwyneth Lewis

A perfectly balanced blend of memoir and biography set within the beautifully portrayed Welsh countryside. An evocative and moving examination of just what it means to find a place to call home.

Neil Ansell, author of Deep Country

This is a raunchy, tender account of love, life, language, a beloved landscape, and a house on a hill which an old gay couple bequeathed to their two young friends, Mike and his partner, Peredur. Mike ‘gets’ Wales, culture, politics, history, loves it for what it is and has made it his own.

Gillian Clarke

This is such a delightful book about beauty, joy, love and home. Risky themes nowadays, but held to account by the richly rigorous – and clever – structure. Any book which pulls the two meanings of “gay” back together is welcome; a book that achieves this fusion this in an isolated but loved and lovely green Welsh valley is to be celebrated and read.

Sara Maitland

Mike Parker's elegant pastoral is an unflinching but tender story of gay love and inter-generational friendship. What emerges is a beautiful and often overlooked kind of family portrait.

Laurence Scott, author of The Four-Dimensional Human and Picnic Comma Lightning

A lovely, lyrical tale of love, lust, steadfastness, and the search for meaning. Behind Parker’s beautifully and tenderly painted figures crouches the land – always watching and perhaps (we’re never sure, are we?) directing the whole drama.

Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast

Parker’s prose is lush and vivid […] a book that is deep in riches and profoundly uncomfortable at heart.

Guardian

The nature writing is richand unfettered. You wonder how it can be so extravagant and detailed… The sense of larger, surrounding community is richly evoked … Like W.G. Sebald's books, On The Red Hill is copiously illustrated by black-and-white photographs, by George or the author, captioned in the back. But it's Parker's gift for words that brings each of these men alive… The prose, while invitingly readable, regularly shoots for the heights, leaves the reader in a land with a beauty all its own.

Bay Area Reporter

Part memoir, part meditation on nature and whole of heart.

Emma Corfield-Walters, Observer

I keep thinking of this moving, simple story of love, tradition and landscape

Julian Glover, Evening Standard

A beautiful celebration of love and the countryside

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