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Patrick Barkham was born in 1975 in Norfolk and was educated at Cambridge University. He is a features writer for the Guardian, where he has reported on everything from the Iraq War to climate change. He lives in London but spends most of his weekends in Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk. His first book, The Butterfly Isles, was short listed for the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje prize. He is currently working on a new book about badgers, to be published by Granta Books.
Shortlisted for The THWAITES WAINWRIGHT PRIZE 2014 - The new literary prize for Nature & Travel Writing about Britain. Britain is the home of the badger - there are more badgers per square kilometre in this country than in any other. And yet many of us have never seen one alive and in the wild. They are nocturnal creatures who vanish into their labyrinthine underground setts at the first hint of a human. Here, Patrick Barkham follows in the footsteps of his badger-loving grandmother, to meet the feeders, farmers and scientists who know their way around Badgerlands: the mysterious world in which these distinctively striped creatures snuffle, dig and live out their complex social lives. As the debate over the badger cull continues, Barkham weighs the evidence on both sides of the argument, and delves into the rich history of the badger - from their prehistoric arrival in Britain and their savage persecution over the centuries, to Kenneth Grahame's fictional creation in Wind in the Willows and the badger who became a White House pet. From the celebrated author of The Butterfly Isles, this is rich, vivid nature writing at its best.
Shortlisted for The THWAITES WAINWRIGHT PRIZE 2014 - The new literary prize for Nature & Travel Writing about Britain. Britain is the home of the badger - there are more badgers per square kilometre in this country than in any other. And yet many of us have never seen one. They are nocturnal creatures, who vanish into their labyrinthine underground setts at the first hint of a human. Accompanied by the eccentrics and scientists who feed and study badgers, Barkham explores Badgerland; a nocturnal world in which sounds and scents are amplified, and Britain seems a much stranger place, one in which these low slung, snuffling, distinctively striped creatures gambol and dig, and live out their complex social lives. Patrick Barkham's grandmother won their trust enough to feed and nurse them, and was responsible for a Parliamentary bill that prohibited their slaughter. Today, over 40 years later, the badger is once again set to be culled. Barkham delves into the fascinating natural and rich cultural history of the animal - from their prehistoric arrival in Britain, to their savage persecution over the centuries, to their change of fortunes in the 20th century, when Kenneth Grahame's Badger spurred a growing fondness for them. Barkham's affection for the stubborn, striped-nose creatures is infectious and Badgerlands will cement his reputation as one of our most vivid, witty and curious nature writers.
Shortlisted for the Galaxy New Writer of the Year 2010. Butterflies animate our summers but the 59 butterfly species of the British Isles can be surprisingly elusive. Some bask unseen at the top of trees in London parks; others lurk at the bottom of damp bogs in Scotland. A few survive for months while other ephemeral creatures only fly for three days. Several are virtually extinct. This bewitching book charts Patrick Barkham's quest to find all 59 - from the Adonis Blue to the Dingy Skipper - in one unforgettable summer. Wry, attentive, full of infectious delight and curiosity, written with a beautifully light touch, Butterfly Isles will become a classic of British nature writing.