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Tim Dee was born in Liverpool in 1961. He has worked as a BBC radio producer for more than twenty years and divides his life between Bristol and Cambridge. His first book, The Running Sky: A Birdwatching Life, was published by Cape in 2009.
In his first book since the acclaimed The Running Sky Tim Dee tells the story of four green fields. Four fields spread around the world: their grasses, their hedges, their birds, their skies, and their natural and human histories. Four real fields - walkable, mappable, man-made, mowable and knowable, but also secretive, mysterious, wild, contested and changing. Four fields - the oldest and simplest and truest measure of what a man needs in life - looked at, thought about, worked in, lived with, written. Dee's four fields, which he has known for more than twenty years, are the fen field at the bottom of his Cambridgeshire garden, a field in southern Zambia, a prairie field in Little Bighorn, Montana, USA, and a grass meadow in the exclusion zone at Chernobyl, Ukraine. Meditating on these four fields, Dee makes us look anew at where we live and how. He argues that we must attend to what we have made of the wild, to look at and think about the way we have messed things up but also to notice how we have kept going alongside nature, to listen to the conversation we have had with grass and fields. Four Fields is a profound, lyrical book by one of Britain's very best writers about nature. It is shortlisted for the 2014 Ondaatje Prize.
A masterpiece of nature writing from the author of The Running Sky One December, in midsummer South Africa, Tim Dee was watching swallows. They were at home there, but the same birds would soon begin journeying north to Europe, where their arrival marks the beginning of spring. Between the winter and the summer solstice in Europe, spring moves north at about the speed of swallow flight. That is also close to human walking pace. In the light of these happy coincidences, Greenery recounts how Tim Dee tries to travel with the season and its migratory birds, making remarkable journeys to keep in step with the very best days of the year, the time of buds and blossoms and leafing, the time of song and nests and eggs. After South Africa, we follow European migrants staging in Chad and Ethiopia, and on across the colossal and incomprehensible Sahara. We accompany storks venturing the Straits of Gibraltar, honey buzzards dodging Sicilian hunters, and tiny landbirds finding haven on the curious island of Heligoland. A diary of the spring spreading through Britain with a magic trinity of oak-tree-loving birds interleaves the continental greening. We read of other determined spring-seekers: D. H. Lawrence and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. We hear from a Sami reindeer herder, a barn-dwelling swallow-devotee, an Egyptian taxi driver, a chronobiologist in arctic Norway. There are bears and boars and bog-bodies too. Greenery is a masterpiece of nature writing, deeply informed, expansive and often profoundly beautiful. Tim Dee's journey ends where the greenery of the European spring ends: on the shores of the Arctic Ocean in northern Scandinavia, where, yes, there are swallows in midsummer as there were at the Cape of Good Hope in December.
The essential and defining new collection of the best British nature writing 'Tim Dee has brought together a wonderous array of talent for this life-affirming, often magical anthology' Observer We are living in the anthropocene - an epoch where everything is being determined by the activities of just one soft-skinned, warm-blooded, short-lived, pedestrian species. How do we make our way through the ruins that we have made? This anthology tries to answer this as it explores new and enduring cultural landscapes, in a celebration of local distinctiveness that includes new work from some of our finest writers. We have memories of childhood homes from Adam Thorpe, Marina Warner and Sean O'Brien; we journey with John Burnside to the Arizona desert, with Hugh Brody to the Canadian Arctic; going from Tessa Hadley's hymn to her London garden to caving in the Mendips with Sean Borodale to shell-collecting on a Suffolk beach with Julia Blackburn. Helen Macdonald, in her remarkable piece on growing up in a 50-acre walled estate, reflects on our failed stewardship of the planet: 'I take stock.' she says, 'During this sixth extinction, we who may not have time to do anything else must write now what we can, to take stock.' This is an important, necessary book.
In Landfill, Tim Dee argues that rubbish tips sustain life and offer an alternative view of how we should treat any species who dares to live so closely among humans. About the book, Tim Dee says: 'I have been a lifelong birdwatcher but more recently I have found myself spending time watching people watching birds. Gulls in Britain are no longer seagulls and I've been fascinated in the last decade by the various ways that these birds have come ashore and come closer to us. In some ways they seem to have become more like us than any other bird. We might now evolve together.'
The Birds and the Bees series was designed for Vintage Classics by Timorous Beasties, the Scottish studio famous for their designs inspired by the natural world Beginning in summer with clouds of breeding seabirds in Shetland and ending with nightjars like giant moths in the heart of England, Tim Dee maps his encounters with birds over four decades of tracking them around the world. He tells of familiar but near-global birds like sparrows, starlings and ravens, and exotic species, like electrically coloured hummingbirds in California and bee-eaters in Africa. Dee restores us to the primacy of looking, and takes us outside, again and again, to marvel at what is flying above us.
The Running Sky records a lifetime of looking at birds. Begining in summer with clouds of breeding seabirds in Shetland and ending with crepuscular nightjars like giant moths in the heart of England, Tim Dee maps his own observations and encounters over four decades of tracking birds across the globe. He tells of near-global birds like sparrows, starlings and ravens, and exotic species, like electrically coloured hummingbirds in California and bee-eaters and broadbills in Africa. In doing so he brilliantly restores us to the primacy of looking, the thrill of watching, and takes us outside, again and again, to stand - with or without binoculars - under the storm of life over our heads, and to marvel once more at what is flying about us.