October 19th, 2022

Until earlier this year, the colony of Dalmatian pelicans on the Prespa Lakes in northern Greece was the largest in the world. But then avian influenza struck, killing over 2,000 of these rare birds in wetlands throughout the country. I’m grateful to Emergence Magazine for giving me the opportunity to chronicle this devasting story in an essay called ‘The Spirit of the Wetlands’, in which I explore the wider implications and possibilities for health when we see ourselves as inseperable from the natural world and wider environments. Photo of a Dalmatian pelican on the Prespa Lakes courtesy of SPP Archive_Francisco Márquez.

FcoMARQUEZ_DalmatianPelican Small

October 15th, 2020

It’s been a great pleasure this past summer working with the Wetlands Initiative in Illinois on a short film – Havens of Life – celebrating the Prespa Lakes where I live in northern Greece and the importance of wetlands the world over to human societies and the natural world.

September 10th, 2020

Enormous congratulations to Dara McAnulty and Benedict Macdonald for winning the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing and the Writing on Global Conservation, respectively. I’m deeply honoured that the judges selected Irreplaceable as the Highly Commended runner-up in the Global Conservation category.

August 2nd, 2020

Absolutely thrilled and grateful to learn that Irreplaceable has now been shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation. It’s a tremendous shortlist and I’m honoured to be in such good company. Winner to be announced on September 9th.

June 5th, 2020

It’s World Environment Day today, and I’m deeply honoured and thrilled to announce that Irreplaceable has been longlisted for the Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation, along with a number of fantastic books tackling issues related to the natural world.

May 17th, 2020

Extremely honoured to have my work featured in a new Ezvid Wiki entry entitled 5 Essayists Writing Books That Ask Difficult Questions.

April 9th, 2020

Delighted to announce that the UK paperback of Irreplaceable is published today. Despite these difficult times, independent bookshops are still finding ways of getting books to readers, via online and telephone orders. The book is also available from the usual online sellers, including Waterstones and the NHBS.

March 12th, 2020

In light of the coronavirus we have decided to postpone the US tour of behalf of Irreplaceable. My thanks for the brilliant writers, bookstores and publicity team that were to be a part of it all. Check back here for updates, but we hope to try again in late October. Stay well, everyone.

February 16th, 2020

Very pleased to reveal the beautiful cover for the UK paperback of Irreplaceable, to be published on April 9th and now available to pre-order from all your favourite bookshops.  With thanks to Mark Hearld for the stunning artwork.

January 28th, 2020

I’m pleased to say that the US edition of Irreplaceable, due out on March 15th, can now be pre-ordered from UGA Press, Indiebound and Barnes & Noble. Spring US tour dates to be announced soon.

December 30th, 2019

Honoured to learn that my essay, ‘The Spiral Windings’, has been nominated by for the John Burroughs Nature Essay Award.

November 2nd, 2019

Delighted that Irreplaceable: The Fight to Save Our Wild Places will be published in a U.S. edition by the inimitable University of Georgia Press on March 15th, 2020. Further info here and U.S. tour dates to follow.

August 16th, 2019

I’m back home after the UK tour for Irreplaceable and I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to the book so far. Reviews can be found in The Guardian, New Statesman, Caught by the River, Shiny New Books, Evening Standard Book of the Week and the Irish Times.

April 27th, 2019

I’m delighted to share the first of the advance endorsements for Irreplaceable, set to be published on June 27th:

“Powerful, timely, beautifully written and wonderfully hopeful…From the North Kent Marshes to the mountains of the Balkans Julian Hoffman shines a light on what we had, what we have, and how much we still stand to lose” – Rob Cowen, author of Common Ground

“Unforgettable. Julian Hoffman presents a radical and revelatory perspective on our planet. At a time when the Earth often seems broken beyond repair, this courageous and hopeful book offers life-changing encounters with the more-than-human world” – Nancy Campbell, author of The Library of Ice

April 9th, 2019

The full four-part series of articles written for Lush about the fragile cultural and natural diversity of the salt pans of southern Spain and western Morocco, alongside the wildlife and human migrations of the Strait of Gibraltar can now be found here: The Earth that Holds Us, The Moon is the Heart, Crossing Paths and Salt of Life.

March 10th, 2019

The first in a four-part series of articles I wrote for Lush is now online. The series explores the fragile cultural and natural diversity of the salt pans of southern Spain and western Morocco, alongside the wildlife and human migrations of the Strait of Gibraltar. Part one, The Earth that Holds Us, looks at the traditional ecology of salt and those marshland communities living on the frontline of changing climate dynamics. Part two will be online on March 17th on the Lush Player.

January 22nd, 2019

I’d delighted to say we now have a cover for Irreplaceable, beautifully realised by the Scottish Highlands-based artist Rowena Dugdale. Events for the book are currently being confirmed for the UK. If you’re a bookseller or festival organiser interested in adding an event or requesting an advance copy please feel free to write me via the contact form on this site, or through publicity at Hamish Hamilton and Penguin Books.

irreplaceable cover

July 6th, 2016

I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured to announce that my next non-fiction book, entitled Irreplaceable, will be published by the wonderful Hamish Hamilton and Penguin Books. Though still early days in the writing, the book celebrates those imperilled places and wild species that are increasingly vanishing from our world, as well as telling the stories of the extraordinary resistance to their loss, the vital and inspiring engagement of those people who live and work amidst them. Whether it’s threatened ancient woodlands or urban meadows, vast marshlands or relict prairies, their stories are ones of defiance rather than elegy, honouring wonder, connections and community in the face of immense loss, the sustaining ties forged between people, nature and place.

February 16th, 2016

This spring I’m delighted to be travelling to North America for a series of reading events and a writer’s residency on the Konza Prairie in Kansas. The following are public events so please do come along if you’re in the area or let any friends know who might be interested. Looking forward to hopefully catching up with a few readers of Notes from Near and Far! Full details on the Events page.

April 6th: 57th Street Books/Seminary Co-op, Chicago, IL, 6PM
April 8th: Prairie Lights Bookstore, Iowa City, IA,  7PM
April 10th: Gallery, Memorial Union, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 7PM
April 14th: Union Little Theatre, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 7PM
April 21st: Another Story Bookstore, Toronto, ON, 7PM

April 16th, 2015
Deeply honoured and excited to have The Small Heart of Things shortlisted for the ASLE Book Awards, described by one of the judges as a “beautifully written, prayerfully written book about place.” Here’s a link to the shortlist at the website for the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment.

November 18th, 2014
Absolutely thrilled and honoured to learn that The Small Heart of Things has won a National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature in the United States. Here’s a link to the generous words of the judges.

November 1st, 2014
I’m delighted to announce that The Small Heart of Things is now out in paperback, available from independent bookstores and online sellers. On behalf of the book I have a few upcoming events in England. Full details for the readings can be found on the events page or via the links below for anyone in the area, or if you wish to share with friends who might be interested. Many thanks!

November 18th: LRB Bookshop, London, with Philip Marsden and Ken Worpole
November 19th: Caught by the River Social Club, London
November 22nd: Kendal Mountain Festival, Cumbria, with Ian Hill
November 25th: The Book Case, Hebden Bridge

April 2nd, 2014
I’m deeply honoured to learn that The Small Heart of Things has been named as a finalist in the 2013 ForeWord Book of the Year Awards! Here is a link to what they had to say about the book ahead of the winners being announced on June 27th. Good luck to all the selected books!

February 15th, 2014
I’m getting pretty excited about soon hitting the road on a book tour on behalf of The Small Heart of Things! From the end of February until the middle of March I’ll be reading from the book on the west coast of North America, including stops at the AWP conference and in Victoria, Seattle, Corvallis, San Francisco, Mountain View, Berkeley and Point Reyes. Full details for these and other events can be found here. Books will be available at all of the readings, and I’ll be signing copies as well. It would be a pleasure to meet up with any readers of Notes from Near and Far, so stop by if you’re in the area and say hello!

February 1st, 2014
I’m delighted to have a short story about Prespa’s pelicans published in Among Animals: The Lives of Animals and Humans in Contemporary Short Fiction. It’s a terrific collection put together by Ashland Creek Press and I’ll be signing copies of it at the AWP conference in Seattle at the press’s book fair table on March 27th from 11:00 – 12:00 in the morning.

December 20th, 2013
The first reviews for The Small Heart of Things are beginning to appear and I’m honoured by the positive reception the book is receiving so far. ForeWord Reviews called the book a “remarkable work of environmental and natural-history literature” while The Rumpus said it was “a celebration of spaces and the hidden, miraculous lives within them…a quiet celebration, the pause after you open a gift, truly surprised, and inhabit a speechless moment.” Finally, The Iowa Review says the book is “a series of thoughtful meditations on the powers of place” – its project being “to exert a compassionate mindfulness in the face of apathy.” The full reviews can be read via the above links.

November 4th, 2013
I’m delighted to say that The Small Heart of Things was published by the University of Georgia Press a few weeks ago. For more information about the book, or where it’s available, please see here. And for an interview with Brenna Dixon which explores some of the book’s ideas and themes, please see here.

September 4th, 2013
Some months ago I was approached by the photographer Philip J  Brittan to see if I would be interested in writing an essay for a book of images he was putting together. A single look at the exquisite photographs that make up Autumn River and I knew that it would be an honour to be a part of the project. Philip’s work documents the spectacular blaze of autumn leaves from an unusual perspective, photographing them from either in or on the water of the River Frome. His book reveals a beautiful blend of colour and light, some barely tangible essence of the season as it whisks away on the water.

I’m delighted to have my essay, ‘Falling Away,’ included in the pages of Autumn River. An extract of the essay and a couple of the photographs can be found here, while the book, together with further samples of the images, is available for sale on Philip’s website.

March 5th, 2013
I’m delighted to have been asked by Journal of the Built + Natural Environments to recommend a few books which have helped shape my writing in recent years. It wasn’t easy narrowing the field from the many terrific reads that have resonated with me in some way, but here are three that I keep returning to again and again for their wisdom, depth and vision.

February 13th, 2013
I’m thrilled by the blurbs that writers Elizabeth Dodd and BK Loren have written for The Small Heart of Things. They’re writers whose work I deeply admire and I’m full of gratitude for their generous words about the book, due out in September:

“‘To be at home in the world is to let ourselves be drawn into its embrace,’ writes Julian Hoffman in this sparkling, humane collection of essays. Something similar can be said about reading his exquisite book—we’re drawn into the warmth and intimacy of his meditations. Part travel writing, part environmental witness, part celebration of the human spirit in the more-than-human world, this book guides us to a distant landscape of borders visible and invisible and of enriching change. Throughout, Hoffman is a superb tour guide: observant, knowledgeable, and deftly surprising in the connections he makes among the myriad small things he enables us to see.” —Elizabeth Dodd, author of Horizon’s Lens

“Julian Hoffman’s vast knowledge of the natural world is surpassed only by his deep compassion for all beings–human and otherwise–who inhabit this planet we all share. The Small Heart of Things is a big-hearted book written in prose as clear and strong as the stunningly beautiful Greek landscape it describes.” -BK Loren, author of Theft: a Novel

February 7th, 2013
As winter lingers across the hills, I’m delighted to have a short story set in the depths of summer published in the excellent Cold Mountain Review. You can read an online version of “Waiting for the Three-fifteen” here.

October 28th, 2012
Along with the Notes from Near and Far blog, I now have a new website which can be found at Julian Hoffman | Words, Images. I’ll be using the website to post a bit more information about my upcoming book, The Small Heart of Things, as well as hosting a gallery of landscape and wildlife images and audio links. Drop by and have a look, and if there’s anything you’d like to see there please feel free to let me know!

October 5th, 2012
Very excited to have ‘An Accumulation of Light’ – one of the chapters from my forthcoming book The Small Heart of Things – published in the Southern Humanities Review. It  looks like an excellent issue and can be purchased via the journal’s website here.

August 3rd, 2012
Absolutely breathless and thrilled that my book manuscript, The Small Heart of Things: Being at Home in a Beckoning World, has won first prize in the AWP Award Series in Creative Nonfiction and will be published by the terrific University of Georgia Press. Not only am I extremely honoured, I’m also deeply moved by the words of the judge Terry Tempest Williams to describe the book which can be read in full here, a writer whose wisdom and work have long been a guiding spirit and inspiration to me. Many thanks to all of you who have supported and encouraged my writing over the years. I’m deeply grateful. I’ll be posting further news regarding the book’s publication as soon as I know more.

July 16th, 2012
Thrilled to have my essay ‘The Small Heart of Things’ – about the restoration of the beaver to the rivers of Transylvania – published in the excellent new EarthLines, a magazine concerned with nature, environment and place, and published from a remote croft in the Scottish islands. Print and digital issues are available from the site, and there’s plenty of inspiring writing in each issue.

May 19th, 2012
Honoured to read my essay, ‘Time in the Karst Country’, at the 9th European Dry Grasslands conference held in Prespa, Greece.

May 1st, 2012
My short story, ‘Epiphany,’ is published in Poydras Review, a terrific new journal out of New Orleans. The print version can be purchased from Amazon here and will soon be available for Kindle readers.

December 16th, 2011
My essay, ‘Homing,’ appears in the journal Three Coyotes, a wonderful new publication aimed at exploring our relationships with the natural world through art and imagination.

December 7th, 2011
Delighted that my essay, ‘The Wood for the Trees,’ has been published in Platte Valley Review, a journal based close to the stopover point for migrating sandhill cranes in Nebraska.

December 1st, 2011
Very excited to learn that my essay, ‘Faith in a Forgotten Place,’ has been nominated by the editors of for a Pushcart Prize.

October 3rd, 2011
My essay, ‘Faith in a Forgotten Place,’ – winner of this year’s Nonfiction Prize – is published along with a slideshow of photographs and an audio recording.

September 18th, 2011
‘A Sense of Place’ – A selection of posts from the blog have been published, along with a few of my poems and photographs, in the Belgian arts journal The Green Door Issue Five. Many thanks to Barbara at By the Sea for her extraordinary knowledge of quotes and the right place to use them; she sent me the two that come up in the opening piece, and which have helped guide my thoughts on place over this past year. You can view the entire journal in full through the link, and then use the toggle switches to zoom in and move backwards and forwards. ‘A Sense of Place’ begins on page 52.

August 31st, 2011
Absolutely thrilled to find out that my essay ‘Faith in a Forgotten Place’ – about the plight, people and hopes of the Albanian village of Zagradec – has been awarded first prize in the 2011 Nonfiction Contest, as selected by the author Elizabeth Dodd. I will post a link to the piece as soon as it’s published, towards the end of September, along with a narrative slideshow and audio recording, but in the meantime here is what Elizabeth had to say about the essay. Sincere thanks to the editors and judge at and the many people on both sides of the border who made the essay possible!

August 9th, 2011
Delighted to announce that my short story, ‘The Weight of Snow,’ was awarded an Honourable Mention in Fifth Wednesday Journal’s Editor’s Prize, chosen by the author Edie Meidav.

July 29th, 2011
‘The Wonder of Ordinary Places’ – originally a conference talk presented here in Prespa but more recently a blog post on this site – is published in the anthology Culture and wetlands in the Mediterranean: an evolving story.

June 22nd, 2011
My poem, ‘Field of the Mosses,’ appears in the journal Into the Teeth of the Wind.

May 30th, 2011

The poem ‘Meridians’ is published in the inaugural issue of The Stillwater Review.

April 30th, 2011
A  short story, ‘The Weight of Snow,’ appears in Fifth Wednesday Journal.

March 25th, 2011
My essay, ‘Time in the Karst Country’, is published in A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments, featuring in the journal’s To Know a Place section along with a series of photographs and an audio recording.

7 thoughts on “News

  1. Good morning Julian
    Are you staying in the area of Neveska=Nymfaio? just curious , because i like the area and i am studying the placenames. So maybe you can help me
    Thanks and sorry for my english!
    D S S

    1. Good morning,

      Although I’ve been to Nymfaio a few times (it’s a really wonderful place!) I don’t know any of the villages around it unfortunately. Is it the old Slavic placenames that you’re interested in? I could help with the villages of Prespa if that’s what you’re looking for. Let me know and thanks for the message. Your English is good by the way!

      Best wishes,


  2. Kalimera Julian
    I really have a lot of interest for placenames – toponymia, in general & i would like to mention some things to you.Looking north from St.Achileas island &
    in fact northeastern direction, the majority of elevations(even hills)contain the root
    gor or ghor or gour & if you search in direction of north west the high places are mal mol or even mr changing the l to an r, like lioume & reyma rema gor ge.
    Is that correct? Thaks in advance for any remarks

    1. Kalimera, Dimitri.

      Yes, I’m quite interested in placenames as well, and with so many languages coming together around the lakes it’s a good place for it! ‘Mal’ in Albanian means ‘mountain’ so you have the range of high peaks on the northwest side of Megali Prespa called Mal i Thate, which means Dry Mountains. However, ‘malo’ in Slavo-Macedonian means small, so in a place like Prespa you can have some cross-over of meanings. ‘Reyma’ or ‘rema’ as you probably already know means stream in Greek. ‘Gor’ I believe also means hill or mountain in Slavo-Macedonian, from ‘gora’, and there are a Slavic-Muslim people called the Gorani, which means ‘highlanders.’

      Hope some of this helps!

      Best wishes,


  3. Kalispera Julian
    Of course you are sending me very useful informations.I am in Belgium right now,very jealous of you that you are in that place of the Balkans. My favorite villages are Vogatsiko and as you maybe understood Nymfaio. i mention reuma because the resamblence with liume thanks again

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