A world on our doorstep

Naturalist and author Mark Cocker

Naturalist and author Mark Cocker - Credit: Archant © 2009

Sometimes you don’t have to go far to learn a lot. By narrowing down your horizons you can concentrate so much more on what is happening close at hand.

Claxton by Mark Cocker

Claxton by Mark Cocker - Credit: Archant © 2009

Mark is an acclaimed writer, naturalist and environmental activist, whose previous books include works of biography, history, literary criticism and memoir. His Crow Country was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize n 2008 and won the New Angle Prize for Literarure in 2009, and the expansive survey of our relationship with our feathered friends, Birds and People, with the photographer David Tipling in 2013 has been widely praised.

In complete contrast to the global scope of Birds and People, is Mark’s new book Claxton: Field Notes From A Small Planet, in which he explores his relationship to the landscape, to nature and to all the living things around him through 12-months of daily writings. His close observation, depth of experience and awareness of seasonal change, covers not just birds, but plants, trees, mammals, insects and more, and explores how these other species are as essential to our sense of genuine well-being and to our feeling of rootedness as any other kind of fellowship.

Claxton, Field Notes From A Small Planet by Mark Cocker (Jonathan Cape) is published on October 2, but Jarrold’s is hosting a special launch night with Mark and H is For Hawk author Helen Macdonald in its Norwich store on Wednesday, October 1.

An evening of the best in nature writing: Claxton by Mark Cocker and H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald will take place in the book department, lower ground floor, Jarrold’s London Street store at 6pm for 6.30pm. Tickets are £5 and available from customer services, second floor, Jarrold’s, on 01603 660661; www.jarrold.co.uk/events. Ticket price is redeemable against any of these books purchased on the evening. These can be personally signed and dedicated by the authors.

In the Country by David Gentleman

In the Country by David Gentleman - Credit: Archant © 2009

Country view

The beautiful landscape of East Anglia features in a delightful and very personal book from one of the country’s foremost artists, David Gentleman. In the Country, which is published this autumn, explores the region’s countryside through 50 exquisitely drawn and painted images and words.

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The artist, who created the platform-length mural at Charing Cross underground station, says he has fallen in love with “the East Anglian farmland and woodlands, the immense skies, the sense of space” and creating the book helped him realise “that landscapes don’t need dramatic distances and mountains to be beautiful, and that the gradual encroachment of towns and cities is harmful and destructive”.

Happy Hooves, Ta Dah! by Anna Bogie

Happy Hooves, Ta Dah! by Anna Bogie - Credit: Archant

David has a house in Suffolk and has been a regular visitor to Norfolk throughout his life - from childhood holidays in the 1930s and 1940s to visits now to his eldest daughter, who has a converted farmhouse near Holt. His father-in-law was the writer George Ewart Evans, who latterly lived in Brooke, near Norwich.

David, who has had a house in Suffolk for almost 40 years, adds: “ For this book I didn’t want to travel far and wide, as I’d done for earlier books, but to focus instead on our immediate surroundings, the experience of acquiring and looking after half of a 16th century building and its garden, the stream and village and surrounding landscape and the nearby seaside places our children and grandchildren have enjoyed.

“As essentially a city-dweller myself, being in the country means enjoying a heightened sense of space, season, nature and reality.”

In the Country by David Gentleman (Full Circle Editions) is £25.

Horsing around

Norwich-born Anna Bogie is thrilled to have her first children’s book published. Happy Hooves, Ta Dah!, from the new children’s publishing house Fat Fox Books, tells the story of a horse and his friends who take a trip to the seaside. The story - inspired by Anna’s days living in a farm house in southern Spain before moving to her home now in Gibraltar – is illustrated by Suffolk artist Rebecca Elliott. A follow-up book, Happy Hooves: Oh! Oh! Oh!, from Anna, whose parents live in Blakeney and Dersingham, is due out before Christmas.

Happy Hooves, Ta Dah! by Anna Bogie with illustrations by Rebecca Elliott (Fat Fox Books) is £10.99

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