Friday, August 15, 2008

Granta's New Nature Writing: Read and discuss

Jason Cowley's Granta devotes its Summer 2008 issue to nature writing - not your Laurie Lee lyrical burbling, but a new kind that interests me. The only fiction featured in the edition, Phantom Pain, is by someone called Lydia Peelle. She sets out her literary green philosophy which in brief ... well, actually, she puts it rather well and doesn't need paraphrasing, and I'm lifting her words from Cowley's editor's letter:

'The new nature writing,’ she told me, ‘rather than being pastoral or descriptive or simply a natural history essay, has got to be couched in stories – whether fiction or non-fiction – where we as humans are present. Not only as observers, but as intrinsic elements. I feel this is important, because we’ve got to reconnect ourselves to our environment and fellow species in every way we can, every chance we have. In my thinking, it is the tradition of the false notion of separation that has caused us so many problems and led to so much environmental degradation. I believe that it is our great challenge in the twenty-first century to remake the connection. I think our lives depend on it.’
Granta's New Nature Writing

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