In 2016, Sandy Winterbottom embarked on an epic tall-ship voyage from the busy port of Montevideo to the emptiness of the Antarctic Peninsula. Through vivid and vital descriptions we follow her journey across the vast southern oceans, sensing the ‘feeling of lightness as the ship falls away into the trough of a wave’ and the ‘toothpaste-fresh’ hue of the sea. But sailing alongside her is the shadow of Anthony Ford, a 15 year old from Edinburgh, whose grave Winterbottom encounters on the tiny island of South Georgia, leading to an obsession that diverts her adventure into the brutal world of industrial-scale whaling. The two stories culminate in the unlikely true-life tale of a vegan who ends up befriending the men who partook in the slaughter of two million whales.

In a world that seems increasingly divided, The Two-Headed Whale reminds us of our common humanity and resurrects a history of environmental exploitation that holds crucial parallels with the modern day climate emergency.

“I recommend anyone prone to despair to read Wilding – for Isabella Tree’s apparently quixotic tale of Exmoor ponies, longhorn cattle, red deer and Tamworth pigs roaming free on an aristocratic estate is a hugely important addition to the literature of what can be done to restore soil and soul. The book describes an attempt to renew the ecosystem, after decades of intensive agriculture of some 1,400 hectares owned by Tree’s husband Charlie Burrell at Knepp in West Sussex. The project, which began in 2001, is perhaps unique in England, and the results have been spectacular. Tree is a trenchant critic of the intensive agriculture that has led to soil degradation and erosion. She questions the goal-driven frameworks of much conservation work: when there is no preferred end state, formerly rare and even vanished species tend suddenly to reappear. And she battles heroically against the English addiction to tidiness. For a nation obsessed with orderliness and boundaries, land that is endlessly morphing, on its way to being something else, can be discomforting. She also makes the case that it is possible to feed 10 billion humans on this planet while also leaving more space for the wild.” – Caspar Henderson

 

“In deciding to write a personal memoir at the age of 20, the ornithologist and activist Mya-Rose Craig has shown considerable courage. Not only has she travelled the length and breadth of Britain, she has visited every continent on Earth, rising at dawn, sleeping on ice, walking up mountains and baking in deserts in order to view over 5,000 different birds. Throughout the book, her passion for these animals takes centre stage, and leads her to an environmental activism that feels both necessary and urgent.” – Natasha Walter

In a village in the Welsh Marches, the undercurrents are as dark and strong as the River Severn. After a beloved family member is drowned in a devastating flood, Bede and Elin Sherwell only want to pick up the pieces and pursue their off-grid life in peace. But when a local landowner applies to start fracking near their smallholding, they are drawn into the frontline of the protests. Mysterious threats and incidents begin to destroy trust, rake up the past and threaten their future together. Who is trying to ruin their world and how far will they go?

 

 

 

“Sparked by the sudden death of his teenage daughter Iris, Goldsmith’s memoir of grief, loss and regeneration is a celebration not just of her life, but of the living world and all its inhabitants. Wise and beautifully written, it’s an inspiration to anyone with access to a patch of land, however small. And a reminder to anyone who has lost a loved one that the best way to honour their memory is to cherish the planet.” – Liz Jensen