Although I was born in the northeast of England and grew up in southern Ontario, I moved with my wife in the summer of 2000 to a mountain village beside the Prespa Lakes in northwestern Greece. The first transboundary park in the Balkans, the lake basin is shared with Albania and North Macedonia, and is home to a remarkably rich range of people, birds, wild flowers, languages, mammals and habitats. It’s a place that has taught me a great deal about our complex yet indelible connections to landscape and the natural world.
My latest book, Irreplaceable: The Fight to Save Our Wild Places, was published by Penguin in the UK in 2019 and by UGA Press in the United States in 2020. Irreplaceable celebrates those imperilled places that are increasingly vanishing from the world, exploring treasured coral reefs, tallgrass prairies, ancient woodlands, urban allotments and meadows, along with the many species under threat in them, whether they be nightingales, elephant seals, water voles, redwoods, hornbills or lynxes. Just as importantly, though, it’s a book about resistance to loss, taking its shape from the countless stories of local communities and conservationists as they set about to protect and preserve what is not only of crucial importance to the fabric of human life but irreplaceable as well. Irreplaceable was the Highly Commended Finalist for the 2020 Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation.
My first book, The Small Heart of Things, won the 2012 AWP Award Series for Creative Nonfiction, described by the judge Terry Tempest Williams as “a tapestry of embodied stories born out of the intimate wisdom of sweat and hunger and an earthly intelligence. At a time when we wonder where hope resides, this is a book of faith in the natural histories of community.” I’m deeply honoured by both the award and her generous, spirited words. The book was published in 2013 by the University of Georgia Press and in 2014 it won a National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature.
Other fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Emergence Magazine, The Clearing, Lush Times, EarthLines, Kyoto Journal and The Redwood Coast Review, amongst others. My essay, ‘Faith in a Forgotten Place’, won the 2011 Terrain.org Nonfiction Contest. I’ve recently finished a collection of short stories entitled All the Places We Never Went and I’m currently working on a new non-fiction book called Lifelines: Reimagining Shelter in a Shifting World.
If you’d like to drop me a line for any reason please feel free to use the contact form and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.