I write books

It’s not a great idea to have two books coming out within days of each other in the same month – but these things happen. And, as friends have said, it’s better than not having two books coming out within days of each other in the same month.

9781784270506On 20 July, Behind the Binoculars – interviews with acclaimed birdwatchers is published by Pelagic.

This is a series of interviews with birdy people – people who are keen on birds. But they are also people, and their stories are interesting in their own rights.

The interviewees are: Ian Newton, the late Phil Hollom, Rebecca Nason, Chris Packham, Steph Tyler, Debbie Pain, Stuart Winter, Lee Evans, Steve Gantlett, Mark Cocker, Ian Wallace, Andy Clements, Mike Clarke, Roger Riddington, Stephen Moss, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller, Robert Gillmor (who also is responsible for the gorgeous jacket) and the two ‘authors’ (myself and Keith Betton).

The interviewees (and authors) have just received their copies of the book and it looks lovely – we think.

What does Ian Newton say about gamekeepers?  What does Mark Cocker say about twitching? What does Mike Clarke say about the RSPB’s new direction? Which of the interviewees was kidnapped? Which saw a Red-backed Shrike while doing a school exam?  And which had their best day’s birding in Buccoo Marsh, Tobago, in 1998?

All the answers to these questions, and more, are in the 252 pages of this book. As are photographs of Chris Packham 31 years apart, Robert Gillmor 41 years apart, Keith Betton 47 years apart, Ian Wallace 56 years apart, and myself looking cute.

You could still try to win a signed copy by doing well in this quiz or you could just order it now using the  20% discount (code: BTB20) from the publishers.

If you ordered Behind the Binoculars now, then you’d get it around publication date, and would have finished it (on first read – you will keep going back to it) before Inglorious – conflict in the uplands appears on 30 July, published by Bloomsbury.

getimage-3Now this book is a different kettle of fish completely. It’s not controversial – it’s just that some people will hate it!

It sets out the case for going much further than anyone else has suggested, and banning driven grouse shooting completely.  So, nothing controversial there.

It talks about Hen Harriers, and Peregrines and Golden Eagles and Goshawks but also about greenhouse gas emissions, flood risks and water pollution.  It contains a short history of grouse shooting in the UK and also a wholly fictional account of a gamekeeper looking back on events from 2040.

Rumours seem to abound about Inglorious already!  I’ve been told that The Times has already written an excoriating review of it (even though they haven’t seen it yet) and that the cover price has edged up because Bloomsbury want a war chest to fight libel suits! Neither seems very likely to me – particularly because lawyers have crawled all over it already!

Listen here to me talking to Charlie Moores of Talking Naturally (in association with Rare Bird Alert and Wildsounds and Books)(and of Birders Against Wildlife Crime) about it and other things if you’d like to hear about my thirst for 570 pints of beer and some mild criticism of wildlife NGOs.

Look out for the next copy of Birdwatch magazine for lots of information about Hen Harrier Day 2015 and some excerpts from Inglorious. And Rare Bird Alert are the first to have reviewed Inglorious – see here for a very kind review.

Inglorious is available to order from Bloomsbury at a discounted price right now – so that you can be reading it before anyone else.

And, by the way, I keep being asked by shooters ‘how much of the proceeds from Inglorious will go to conservation projects?’ as if all authors had to donate their income to such causes.  The answer is that there aren’t any profits yet, and won’t be, for years, if the book sells as expected. Hardly anybody makes money from writing books, and certainly not from books that are campaigning for change. Funny, nobody, shooters or others, asked me that question about the other books on this page.

Other books are available.

9781472906250In particular, why not try A Message from Martha – also from Bloomsbury, about the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon a century ago, but more importantly, what we should learn from it…








Fighting-for-Birds--front-cover…or Fighting for Birds, published by Pelagic, which is an account of how UK nature conservation works, and how it doesn’t, and how it should! A good guide for anyone who wants to get a job in nature conservation – and actually, for anyone who has a job in UK nature conservation.


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6 Replies to “I write books”

  1. Very good interview on Talking Naturally. It made me realise how little this sort of discussion gets into main-stream media, so I hope that Hen Harrier Day helps to raise general awareness again this year. (I see Hen Harrier Eve has 38 dislikes - good to see you have started annoying people ahead of the day!)

    1. All these dislikes just for saying that wildlife crime is wrong - you have to wonder what the matter is with these people. But, having said that, we already know exactly what's wrong with them, don't we...

  2. Very much looking forward to reading about RSPB's new direction, which I fear may be too subtle for me to have really understood !

  3. "Hardly anybody makes money from writing books"

    No and there's very little dosh in the system for paying copy editors and proofreaders or as Dearly Beloved Mrs Cobb says people who wipe the arses and change the nappies of the doubly incontinent dimwits who think they can write because they have a famous relly or something and eventually get paid royalties for it although the people who make their drivel readable get a one-off payment that's a fraction of the minimum wage when you count all the hours wasted by the aforementioned incontinents who have usually flown off to far flung destinations for a nice holiday to recover from the stress of writing while others sort out their crapulous scribblings* but Hey! if they were any good you wouldn't be in such demand Mrs C - an assertion with which she resignedly agrees.

    *present company excepted, natch

  4. I tend to be a few steps behind with all this bogging lark but at the time - 42 dislikes! Blimey you really are causing a stir. Well done.


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