About

I am a freelance writer and storyteller. Much of my writing comes from walking.

My first book, Walking the Woods and the Water, tells the story of my eight-month walk from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul in the footsteps of the travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor. It was published by Nicholas Brealey in 2014, and was a finalist for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year in 2015.

This was followed by Where the Wild Winds Are, an account of four walks following Europe’s named winds – the Helm, the Bora, the Foehn and the Mistral – to explore their effects on landscapes, people and cultures. Published in 2017 by Nicholas Brealey/Hodder, it made the shortlist of the Stanford Dolman again and was a finalist for the National Geographic Traveller Readers Awards, as well as being named a Book of the Year by the Financial Times and the Spectator. It has been translated into Italian, Dutch, German and French.

The Parakeeting of London, a work of ‘gonzo ornithology’ that explores the cultural impact of London’s invasive ring-necked parakeets, was co-written with photographer Tim Mitchell. It was published by Paradise Road in 2019.

My most recent book, Outlandish, is the third part of a loose trilogy about walking and Europe. It tells the story iof four journeys to some of the continent’s ‘unlikely landscapes’ – a patch of arctic tundra in Scotland; primeval forest in Poland and Belarus; Europe’s only true desert in Spain; the grassland steppes of Hungary – that act as portals to faraway parts of the world and to faraway times. Stanford’s chose it as their Book of the Month for June 2021.

I have worked as a freelance journalist, publishing articles and features in The Guardian, The Economist, New Internationalist, Emergence, Resurgence & Ecologist, Caught By the River, Narratively, Political Insight, Geographical and other publications. Much of my work focuses on the links between culture and ecology. In 2010 I was the recipient of the BBC Radio 4/Royal Geographic Society Journey of a Lifetime Award, travelling to Dubai and India to make a radio documentary about South Asian migrant workers in the UAE. You can listen to it here.

Since 2013 I have worked as an editor for the Dark Mountain Project, and have contributed short stories and essays to many of its issues. We publish two beautifully made books of ‘uncivilised’ writing and artwork a year and run events around the country. I am now one of the project’s directors and part of its steering group.

I also work as a storyteller (including for the travelling bell foundry Ore + Ingot), and have performed at festivals and storytelling nights around the country.

I am currently working on a third travel book and a collection of short stories. A novel is in the pipeline.

My agent is Jessica Woollard at David Higham Associates.

Contact: scrutiny@gmail.com