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Melissa Harrison’s The Stubborn Light of Things

If you are a lover of podcasts you will probably already know about Melissa Harrison’s top-rated nature series The Stubborn Light of Things.

This November we are delighted to publish her nature diary, also titled The Stubborn Light of Things. You can pre-order copies from indie bookshops such as Woodbridge Emporium, Bookseller Crow, Big Green Books, as well as Waterstones, Foyles or Hive.

When I lived in London I barely noticed the winter solstice. Nothing slowed, contracted or dimmed to mark the shortest day of the year, for, like all cities, London has all but left such trifling considerations behind.

But now I am in Suffolk, and the difference could not be more marked. I wake in dim half-light, the yellow windows of nearby farmhouses glimmering across frost-white fields. At three the rooks begin to gather in the leafless trees, and flocks of starlings start to move from place to place. When darkness falls, the nights are blacker than I’ve ever seen, the starfield so breathtaking that Orion and the Plough are lost amid a million other points of light.

A Londoner for over twenty years, moving from flat to Tube to air-conditioned office, Melissa Harrison knew what it was to be insulated from the seasons. Adopting a dog and going on daily walks helped reconnect her with the cycle of the year and the quiet richness of nature all around her: swifts nesting in a nearby church; ivy-leaved toadflax growing out of brick walls; the first blackbird’s song; an exhilarating glimpse of a hobby over Tooting Common.

Moving from scrappy city verges to ancient, rural Suffolk, where Harrison eventually relocates, this diary – compiled from her beloved Nature Notebook column in The Times – maps her joyful engagement with the natural world and demonstrates how we must first learn to see, and then act to preserve, the beauty we have on our doorsteps – no matter where we live.

It includes illustrations by Joanna Lisowiec, who also illustrated the beautiful double-layered book jacket.

‘A writer of great gifts.’ Robert Macfarlane

‘A nature writer with a knowledge and eye for detail that recalls Thomas Hardy and John McGahern.’ The Times