Proof Positive

An exciting-looking package arrived today and inside were the first proofs of my new book, ‘A Country of Larks’. I’ve got digital prints too of course, but there’s nothing like seeing your words ‘in the flesh’, so to speak. Now for a weekend of proofreading…

#CountryOfLarks

First proofs

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Can you judge a book by its cover?

Can you judge a book by its cover? I very much hope so, as the cover of my forthcoming book (published by Bradt in April), with linocut artwork by the very talented James Green Printworks captures the Chilterns beautifully. I found James after I saw the gorgeous cover he did for this year’s edition of the English Heritage handbook, and happily Bradt agreed to commissioned him.

My book has also also magically appeared on Amazon and is now available for pre-order. It’s all becoming frighteningly real!

Book to be published by Bradt

I’m delighted that my first proper book, a travel narrative about the Chilterns  — a blend of travel, history, politics and nature — will be published next spring by Bradt . After a peripatetic early childhood our family settled in a Chiltern commuter village on the borders of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. Although aged eighteen I couldn’t wait to leave, I have recently rediscovered the quiet allure of the hills and dells of my youth. I may have left long ago, but the Chilterns still matter to me.

More to follow in due course…

Ivinghoe Beacon seen from The Ridgeway.

Travel Writing Course in Spain

I’m just back from teaching a residential course for Bath Spa University’s MA in Travel & Nature Writing in Valencia province, Spain. We stayed in the lovely mountain village of Sella, where we spent a week exploring the local countryside and culture – and writing about it!

Here’s a photo of the group hard at work, with Sella in the background. If you’d like to learn more about the MA you can read about it here.

See you in Spain next year?

Sella photo

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A red & rocky road to Petra

Six months ago I filed copy for my story on the new Jordan Trail. It has now has appeared in the Telegraph, and although I generally don’t read my writing once it’s published (you always think of how it could have been better), for this a made an exception as it’s been so long I’d forgotten what I’d written.

I’d definitely forgotten how challenging the walk was, but also how completely magical, and would recommend the Jordan Trail to anyone who loves hiking through spectacular countryside in the company amazing people.

NB: it’s not me in the photo below, folks!

Ali-Barqawi-Studios-Explore-Series-Travel-Adventure-Jordan-Trail

The Shara Mountains. Credit: Ali Barqawi Studios

Jordan 100 years after Lawrence

Lat week the Telegraph asked me to write a round-up on Jordan 100 years after Lawrence of Arabia, giving me a 24-hour turnaround to produce copy. I was happy to oblige. Meanwhile I’m still waiting for my long story on the new Jordan Trail to appear, months after I filed it. Watch this space …

Camels in front of theTreasury, Petra. Credit Jordan Tourist Board

There’s a lot more to Jordan than Petra. Photo: Jordan Tourist Board