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About the book
  • Published: 15 June 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099516491
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $19.99

The Running Sky

A Bird-Watching Life

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An extraordinary, inspiring book about a lifetime of observing birds, already acclaimed as a classic

The Running Sky records a lifetime of looking at birds. Begining in summer with clouds of breeding seabirds in Shetland and ending with crepuscular nightjars like giant moths in the heart of England, Tim Dee maps his own observations and encounters over four decades of tracking birds across the globe. He tells of near-global birds like sparrows, starlings and ravens, and exotic species, like electrically coloured hummingbirds in California and bee-eaters and broadbills in Africa. In doing so he brilliantly restores us to the primacy of looking, the thrill of watching, and takes us outside, again and again, to stand – with or without binoculars – under the storm of life over our heads, and to marvel once more at what is flying about us.

  • Pub date: 15 June 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099516491
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Tim Dee

Tim Dee is a BBC radio producer making upwards of thirty programmes a year. His first book, The Running Sky, was published by Cape in 2009 and described his first five birdwatching decades. His latest book, Four Fields, described more deeply his ideas of the pastoral. He collaborated with the poet Simon Armitage on the anthology The Poetry of Birds.

Also by Tim Dee

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Praise for The Running Sky

“The Running Sky has the makings of a classic. It's beautifully written, extraordinarily vigilant, and very moving. Most remarkable of all, it manages to give a sense of the bird world as being something which embraces and contains our own - which means that, as we read it, we learn a lot about ourselves as well as the fellow creatures flying through, over and around our own lives”

Andrew Motion

“Lyrical...sure to become a genuine addition to the literature of birds”

Daily Express

“What makes his book wonderful is his passion... He captures the thrill and puzzlement of watching birds as I have never previously seen it captured”

Sunday Herald

“Its author has a forensic eye for detail and a gift for poetry...an intimate and erudite account... he is in the front rank of contributors to the literature of natural history”

Daily Telegraph

“Serious and playful...creates a powerful and intensely poetic paean to what others have called the wonder of birds”


“Thrillingly original memoir ... extraordinary”

Lynn Barber, The Sunday Times

“A beautifully haunting and involving memoir. The writer's passion for birds becomes his way of expressing his whole relationship to landscape and history and family: unsentimental and urgently contemporary”

Tessa Hadley

“The best 'new age' nature book this year”

Peter Marren, Independent

“Dee's extraordinary, beautifully written account of a life spent watching birds is a fine addition to the flourishing genre of British nature writing”

Christopher Hart, The Sunday Times

“In a class of its own ... a chastening as well as an enchanting book”

Andrew Motion, Guardian

“To write a book about a year's bird-watching as keenly observed as this, you have to be dedicated to the point of obsession; to write one as transcendent, you must be a poet”

Christopher Somerville, The Times, Christmas Books

“In a class of its own”

The Week

“You don't need to be a birdwatcher yourself to enjoy it”

Sunday Telegraph

“Thrillingly original memoir.”

Lynn Barber, The Sunday Times

“This moving memoir of a bird-watching life is full of "poetry-saturated observation"”

Sunday Times Summer Reading

“As unexpected as it is brilliant... A moving, powerful meditation on the natural world that envelops us, even in the heart of our cities”

Helen Dunmore, Guardian Summer Reading

“It looks fabulous - all ingenuous sidebar diagrams for extra-narrative thoughts and insights. And it has genuine soul: the novel evokes family life, in all its delight and eccentricity, frustration and love, in a way that would melt the hardest of hearts”

Nicola Barr, Guardian

“Haunting and passionate.... in graceful, poetic prose, compels us to look again and marvel at the 'storm of life over our heads”

Huon Mallalieu, Country Life, Christmas round up

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