The Rise of ‘Fictional Nature Writing’?

There has been a very obvious blooming of Nature Writing in the UK and beyond in recent decades. This was dubbed ‘The New Nature Writing’ (NNW) by Cowley in 2008, which (quoting Lydia Peele) ‘rather being pastoral or descriptive or simply a natural history essay, has got to be couched in stories – whether fiction or non-fiction – where we as humans are present’ (Granta 102: 12). In 2013 I asked one of the key exponents of NNW, Robert MacFarlane, at a Bath Literature Festival event, “what next for nature writing?”. The reply was, “good question, I think a turn to fiction.” Now I note that Paul Baggaley (Picador Books) writes in the Guardian Review (20 12 2014: 15) that he sees the recent fiction works of Cynan Jones, The Dig, and especially The Long Dry , to be the ‘first fictional nature writing to match the qualities of its much lauded non-fiction counterparts’.

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About Owain Jones

I work at Bath Spa University as a Professor of Environmental Humanities. I also write songs and help stage a range of live music with others. I am Chair and Programmer for Priston Festival.
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