Saturday 2 July
£10 for the day, Under 18’s are free to attend.
Messums Wiltshire are celebrating the best in environmental writing, in partnership with Little Toller Books; the award-winning independent publisher based in west Dorset.
For twelve years Little Toller has been publishing books about nature, culture and place, starting with the Nature Classics, a series of books reviving the great books of rural writing for a new generation – with new covers and introductions by contemporary authors. These include Men and the Fields by Adrian Bell, Four Hedges by Clare Leighton and The South Country by Edward Thomas. The publisher now focuses on new books helping explain our relationship to the natural world.
Living with Trees is a powerful call for more trees in our lives. Drawing on the many ways that people around the UK are redefining their relationship with trees and woods in the twenty-first century – in healthcare, education, ecology, art, architecture, agroforestry, rewilding – it demonstrates how caring for trees and woods enhances local biodiversity, community cohesion and well-being. Trees and woods offer great potential for rebuilding our wider relationship with nature, reinforcing local identity and sustaining wildlife. We need more trees and woods in our lives, to lock up carbon, to mitigate flooding, to help shade our towns and cities and bring shelter, wildlife and beauty to places.
Robin Walter was a woodland officer for the Woodland Trust until 2010, when he became an independent forester.
The mermaid expresses our reliance on the sea for food and trade and draws on our fear and fascination of the unknown depths. From her roots in Assyrian reliefs and her casting in Medieval bestiaries, she has been carved into churches, painted onto pub signs and Pre-Raphaelite canvases, inked into skin, sketched by Picasso, starred in Hollywood movies and in 21st century graffiti, reclaimed as neither vamp nor victim but as a symbol of womanhood and resistance. Few creatures claim this allure or longevity.
Mermaids’ culture spans eras, continents, art forms. Sophia’s book is the first history to delve into 3,000 years of folklore and myth, celebrating this looming figure of our imaginations.
Sophia Kingshill is the co-author of The Lore of Scotland and The Fabled Coast, and has studied folklore and myth her whole life. She is also a playwright whose work on subjects as varied as Sinbad, William Morris and the Brontës has been performed in Britain and Europe.
Jay Griffiths’ new book tracks the turning light of the day and seasons, an almanac of the turning times. Beginning in night and winter, it moves to dawn and spring, then noon and summer and finally evening and autumn. Jay asks: Where do the sands of time run fastest, and how is that connected to the age of anxiety? Exploring the dawn chorus; the tradition of sacred hospitality; dust from the time before the sun even existed; the twilight time of the trickster and the daily rituals of morning. In all of these Jay asks: why does light, through the hours of the day and the seasons of the year, affect us?
‘A bold and innovative writer who’s always exploring new frontiers of thought and feeling and new ways of writing about them. A great stylist, lively and curious, she writes beautifully, about a very wide range of topics. But in every case, she brings something to them that nobody else could bring.’ George Monbiot
Jay Griffiths was born in Manchester, studied at Oxford, travelled widely, lived in a shed in Epping Forest before settling in west Wales. She is the author of eight books.
Alex Woodcock is a writer and stonemason from the south coast of England. Following his PhD in medieval sculpture he spent six years working at Exeter Cathedral. In 2015 he won the Cardew-Rendle history prize and in 2018 the Hugh Miller Writing Competition for poetry. His work on subjects ranging from medieval to surrealist art to ancient fossils.
King of Dust is a craftsman’s journey through the landscapes and ancient sculpture that inspired him to pick up tools. Weaving the author’s own history with the potency of the stonecarvings and stories of their medieval carvers, the book is a meditation on craft, the importance of the handmade, and the transformative power of art in our lives. It explores how stone connects us with others through time and can help us find our place in the world.
Little Toller Books is an independent publisher based in west Dorset. For twelve years Little Toller has been publishing books about nature, culture and place, starting with the Nature Classics, a series of books reviving the great books of rural writing for a new generation – with new covers and introductions by contemporary authors. These include Men and the Fields by Adrian Bell, Four Hedges by Clare Leighton and The South Country by Edward Thomas. The publisher now focuses on new books helping explain our relationship to the natural world. Authors include Tim Dee, Dara McAnulty, Peter Marren, Fiona Sampson and Louisa Adjoa Parker.