Tring Book Festival

I was delighted to be invited to speak last weekend at the Tring Book Festival in its inaugural year, in the company of such luminaries as Rory Bremner, Jenni Murray, Chris Packham and Carol Anne Duffy. I was even more delighted to find that 120 people bothered to turn up at lunchtime on Remembrance Sunday to hear me talk about my book, The Country of Larks, which is set in the Chilterns. They were a very appreciative audience, and I met many of them afterwards when signing copies of my book. This was my first experience of appearing at a literary festival – I hope it’s not the last!

Tring Festival

On stage at the Tring Book Festival. I’m the small figure stage right!

Reading and talking in Marlow

Last week saw me at the Marlow Bookshop, talking about my book The Country of Larks alongside the authors of the new Slow Guide to the Chilterns. I’d never visited this bookshop before – it’s a branch of Daunts (the main shop is on Marylebone High Street in London), and recently won the 2019 Muddy Stilettos award for best bookshop in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. And Marlow itself is a special place: an historically significant town on the River Thames and home for many years to Jerome K Jerome, author of the humorous classic Three Men in a Boat.

The bookshop was a lovely space to hold the event – all William Morris wallpaper and wooden bookshelves – which was well attended, with many insightful questions from the interviewer and audience. This coming Friday (5th July) I’ll be at Blackwell’s in Oxford, and the weekend after at Waterstones in Berkhamsted (15th July). Please do join me if you’re around.

Book Launch

April 30th saw the launch of my book, The Country of Larks, at the Chorleywood Bookshop. This independent store has been selling great books to the residents of the Chilterns for over forty years, and laid on a lovely evening for the event. A glass of wine (or two), a short speech and a pile of books to sign (see below), and it was all over. Now for a summer of readings and signings, including at the Marlow Bookshop (27th June),  Blackwell’s, Oxford, (5th July), Waterstones, Berkhamsted, (13th July) and Plant Fair in Chenies Manor (14th July). Hope you can make one of these events if you are in the area!

Walking Women

Last week I was invited to appear (if you can appear on a radio programme) on BBC 4’s Woman’s Hour, to discuss why women like to walk solo. Sitting alone in a small room in the BBC’s Leeds studio it felt weird talking to so many people (the audience figures are around 3.7 million) but the conversation went well, and was over in no time. Woman’s Hour has been broadcasting since 1946, yet still manages to be relevant today – and by the responses I’ve received, is listened to by quite a few men too! If you want to hear it, I’m around 10 minutes into the programme.

Walking in the Wolds

Walking in the Yorkshire Wolds ©Richard Bailey

Fame at last?

Hot on the heels of my book launch at the great, independent Chorleywood Bookshop on Tuesday evening (photos to follow), an interview about my book The Country of Larks is published in the current edition of Waitrose Weekend magazine. I was honoured to discover that I appear alongside literary luminaries Robert Macfarlane and Horatio Clare, two writers who I greatly admire.

The article is not online sadly (but free in store), so I’ve posted some photos of it below. You can also read some extracts from my book on the wonderful Land Lines website.

Waitrose interview 1

Waitrose interview 2


And in other news…

This was the week we didn’t crash out of the EU after all. It also happened to be the week my new book, The Country of Larks: A Chiltern Journey, was published. To coincide with this (less momentous) event I wrote a piece for Telegraph Travel on walking in the Chilterns before HS2 arrives. You need to register to access it for free, but it’ll be worth it – if only for the lovely photos!

Explore the Chilterns this Easter – before the high-speed trains arriveCredit: Getty Images

Advance arrivals

Advance copies of my book have just arrived! It feels fantastic to actually hold the book in my hands, smell the ink and feel the paper.

Just one month to go now before publication, which is both exciting and scary. Writing, pitching and getting a book published has been a steep learning curve. I’ve been lucky to have had the encouragement and expertise of author/editor colleagues and friends, but also the support of a great publisher, Bradt. Best known for their travel guides, Bradt also publish a selection of travel literature (a category which The Country of Larks falls into), and have taken enormous care over the editing and production of my book.

The launch will be held at the Chorleywood Bookshop, an independent store that has been in existence for over 40 years and hosts a variety of literary events. I’ll post details of the launch a little nearer the time…



Putting it to bed

Today is the day that my book, The Country of Larks, is off to the printer – also known in the publishing business as ‘putting it to bed’. This is my first ‘proper’ book, so I didn’t know what to expect from the editing/production process but the experience with Bradt has been a positive one from beginning to end. I’ve been hugely impressed with the care they have taken over my book, from the design to the final edit. But I guess this is what you’d expect from a publishing house of 45 years standing.

This week I also got to see the (almost) final version of the cover, with linocut by James Green Printworks and design by Pepi Bluck of Perfect Picture (who also typeset the book and designed the internal pages).  Here’s a sneak preview.

Proof Positive

An exciting-looking package arrived today and inside were the first proofs of my new book, ‘A Country of Larks’. I’ve got digital prints too of course, but there’s nothing like seeing your words ‘in the flesh’, so to speak. Now for a weekend of proofreading…


First proofs

Can you judge a book by its cover?

Can you judge a book by its cover? I very much hope so, as the cover of my forthcoming book (published by Bradt in April), with linocut artwork by the very talented James Green Printworks captures the Chilterns beautifully. I found James after I saw the gorgeous cover he did for this year’s edition of the English Heritage handbook, and happily Bradt agreed to commissioned him.

My book has also also magically appeared on Amazon and is now available for pre-order. It’s all becoming frighteningly real!