Apr 18, 2023

Nature and the Natural World at this year’s Literary Festival

Nature and the environment are key themes at this year’s Guernsey Literary Festival. The natural world is around us, and as humans, we have the power to either embrace and live harmoniously with nature or destroy it. There are a range of speakers joining us at this year’s festival sharing their thoughts on how we can better improve our understanding, care and appreciation of the natural world, and how engaging with nature can help improve our lives.

John Wright: The Observant Walker — Wild Food, Nature & Hidden Treasure on the Pathways of Britain

When: Thursday 11 May, 11:00 to 12:00
Where: Les Cotils

What if, instead of just admiring the view when we take a walk, we slowed right down and looked closely at every living thing — every plant, fungus, lichen, hoverfly or spider? In 2021, John and Diane Wright set off on a series of walks around Britain, from Hayling Island in Hampshire to the Scottish island of Seil. Join John, a writer who takes people on natural history walks, mostly to find wild food, and has a specialist knowledge of fungi, to hear the tales of what they found during their adventures.

Helen Czerski: Blue Machine — How the Ocean Works

When: Thursday 11 May, 13:00 to 14:00
Where: Les Cotils

Our oceans are the solar-powered engine that powers the planet. Helen Czerski, physicist at University College London’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and a science presenter for the BBC, tells the stories that explain how this great machine works and why our understanding of the ocean is critically important.

Kindly sponsored by Praxis.

Gail Simmons: Between the Chalk and the Sea — A Journey on Foot into the Past

When: Friday 12 May, 11:00 to 12:00
Where: Les Cotils

Gail Simmons talks about her new book, Between the Chalk and the Sea, which chronicles a walk along a long-forgotten pilgrimage route from Southampton to Canterbury, rediscovered on an antique map in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Over four seasons, Gail winds between chalk hills and the south coast, telling a story of kings and knights, peasants and pilgrims, of ancient folklore and enduring traditions, and revealing the rich natural and cultural heritage found on our doorsteps.

Writing Workshop

Gail Simmons: Writing about Place

If you want to learn how to write about nature and everything you see around you, Gail is holding a workshop at La Vallette Bathing Pools on Saturday 13th May from 9:30–12. Using a combination of classroom discussion, fieldwork and practical exercise, this workshop will introduce you to the skills and concepts needed to bring places to life in your own writing.

Both events are kindly sponsored by Rawlinson and Hunter.

Family Event

Sita Brahmachari: Where the River Runs Gold

When: Saturday 13 May, 14:30 to 15:30
Where: Guille-Allès Library

Waterstones award-winning author Sita Brahmachari will explore the rewilding storytelling, environmental and human rights inspirations behind her bestselling novel, Where the River Runs Gold. Taking you back to her childhood, she tells the story of how a shy doodler and daydreamer inspired by nature and her diverse storytelling heritage became an author for children today. Sita’s talk includes readings, drama, seed packet making and audience participation, where audience members will be encouraged to make their own environmental pledges.

Kindly sponsored by Rothschild & Co.

Paul Sherman — One Flew Over the Puffin’s Nest

When: Sunday 14 May, 11:00 to 12:00
Where: Herm Harbour

Join Paul Sherman for a unique walk and talk event. Paul is an author, playwright and theatre director based in Kent, who has holidayed in Herm for over 20 years and wrote his first collection of short stories, Where Seagulls Dare, in 2018. One Flew Over the Puffin’s Nest is Paul’s second collection of stories set in Herm. Walk around Herm, taking in the beauty of nature with Paul as he gives you snippets of the tales as you go.

Family Event

WriteStuff Awards

When: Saturday 13 May, 16:00 to 17:00
Where: Les Cotils

Young local writers have also been exploring the theme of nature. For this year’s Write Stuff Awards, students from schools across the Bailiwick were tasked with writing short stories based on the theme of nature. We’ve had a record number of entries and are looking forward to hearing the winning entries at this year’s festival, read by our guest judges.

The judges for this year’s competition are M. G. Leonard (Primary category), Joseph Coelho (Intermediate category), Sita Brahmachari (Senior category) and Huw Lewis-Jones (SEND category).

Kindly sponsored by Julias Baer.