The festival that brings people who love books closer to nature and people who love nature closer to books, has announced its 2018 line-up featuring some of the UK’s best nature writers.
NiddFest’s Artistic Director, author and garden designer Kit Peel, established NiddFest in 2014. The festival is managed by the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Kit said: “The experience of the natural world is enriched through literature, it adds layers of connectivity. Nidderdale is beautiful so authors want to come, and audiences appreciate seeing nature in so many different ways. We have such a fun, outdoor programme this year, we beat a quiet drum for the natural world.”
Authors include the York author and part-time bookseller, Fiona Mozley. When Mozley’s Elmet made the Man Booker Prize, she cemented her position as the buzziest debut novelist of 2017. Elmet is a contemporary rural noir steeped in the literature and legend of the Yorkshire landscape and its medieval history.
When she's not on or under the waves, Dr Helen Scales - a marine biologist, writer, broadcaster, surfer and diver - writes and talks about the connections between people, science and the living world. Her latest book, Eye of the Shoal, is a guide to life, the ocean and everything.
Writer and prize-winning poet, Miriam Darlington, is author of one 2018’s biggest nature books: Owl Sense. Hailed as ‘captivating’ by The Times and ‘achingly beautiful’ by the Guardian, Darlington cleaves myth from reality and brings the strangeness and magnificence of owls to life, exploring the wild in nature and in the unpredictable course of our human lives.
Harrogate author Rob Cowen shot to literary fame with his book Common Ground, an exploration of the common ground we share with the natural world, the past and each other. It was voted in the top three of the UK’s favourite nature books in a 2018 poll. The award-winning journalist and writer was described by the Guardian as ‘one of the UK’s most exciting nature writers’.
For young readers, Piers Torday writes the adventures of a boy called Kester who can’t talk to people but can talk to animals. His first book, The Last Wild was nominated for the Carnegie Award. His latest The Lost Magician, is published in August 2018. Sam Enthoven, the author of fantastical action thrillers is ‘certifiably’ committed to books that make kids want to read. His books Crawler and Tim Defender of the Earth feature vomiting bats to giant monsters. Sam will deliver a story-telling session, Nidderdale Shivers.
Carol Ann Duffy, UK’s Poet Laureate and NiddFest patron, said NiddFest is important for allowing ‘writers and readers to celebrate nature and literature in a particularly beautiful part of England.’
Talks also include the Yorkshire Vet, Julian Norton of Channel 5 fame, and TV presenter Lindsey Chapman, Patron of The Wild Watch at Nidderdale AONB, who will give audiences a glimpse behind the scenes presenting BBC’s Springwatch Unsprung.
Outdoor workshops and family events are hosted in Fishpond Wood and around Pateley Bridge, including a foraging walk and talk and workshops in landscape photography, garden design, and a children’s woodland workshop with Twigs N Stix Forest School. Peter Cowdrey of Planet Birdsong, will take you on a dawn walk and teach you how to recreate the birdsongs of Nidderdale.
Iain Mann, Scheme Manager of the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership, said: “NiddFest is a unique, family-friendly festival, offering a weekend of inspiring talks and fun-packed outside events for all ages. We really want audiences to experience nature up close and enjoy the glorious landscape of Upper Nidderdale in our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
NiddFest runs on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June. www.niddfest.com Follow @niddfest