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Field Notes From a Hidden City An Urban Nature Diary by Esther Woolfson

Field Notes From a Hidden City An Urban Nature Diary

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Sue Baker's view...

Shortlisted for The THWAITES WAINWRIGHT PRIZE 2014 - The new literary prize for Nature & Travel Writing about Britain. Thwaites Wainwright Prize 2014A beautifully written and thought-provoking record of a year spent observing the natural world in a city, which looks afresh at our relationship to the weather, the plants and the animals that live in close proximity to us

Sue Baker's View.....

Now why did I love reading this book so much? It’s a set of short pieces observing wild-life in Aberdeen through the year so not an instant candidate for an all-time favourite - it’s the writing, the observation and the conclusions made by Esther Woolfson that count so much. I shifted uneasily in my chair as I came to slugs, my record as a slug murderer weighing heavily and this is part of the appeal, we can’t or shouldn’t tailor the life that surrounds us to fit us, we must fit in and adjust. So – I’m going to have to give up on the slug culling and try to co-exist. I enjoyed reading about Aberdeen, somewhere I’ve never been, the harsh climate and the wildlife in the city and the sea but above all I enjoyed the writing, being able to read one of these short pieces every day would add immensely to the pleasure of life.

Like for Like Reading

Corvus: A Life with Birds, Esther Woolfson

The Country Diaries, Alan Taylor (Editor)

Who is Sue Baker


Field Notes From a Hidden City An Urban Nature Diary by Esther Woolfson

Shortlisted for The THWAITES WAINWRIGHT PRIZE 2014 - The new literary prize for Nature & Travel Writing about Britain.

Against the background of austere and beautiful Aberdeen, Woolfson observes the seasons, the streets and the quiet places of her city over the course of a year. She considers the geographic, atmospheric and environmental elements which bring diverse life forms together in close proximity, and in absorbing prose writes of the animals among us: the birds, the rats and squirrels, the spiders and the insects. Her close examination of the natural world leads her to question our prevailing attitudes to urban and non-urban wildlife, and to look again at the values we place on the lives of individual species.

About the Author

Esther Woolfson was brought up in Glasgow and studied Chinese at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Edinburgh University. Her acclaimed short stories have appeared in many anthologies and have been read on Radio 4. She is the author of Corvus: A Life with Birds, which is also published by Granta Books. She has won prizes for her nature writing and received a Scottish Arts Council Travel Grant and a Writer's Bursary.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th February 2014


Esther Woolfson

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Granta Books


368 pages


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Wildlife: general interest



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