Category Archives: Writer

Interview with authors

Horatio Clare talking walking

www.jamesbedford.com

Within striking distance of Hebden Bridge, as dusk falls, accompanied by his dog Freda, radio producer, presenter and writer, Horatio Clare takes Andrew Stuck on a ‘slow walk’ close to his home in an area known as Hard Castle Crags.  The sky above us fills with insects and the birds and bats that feed on them.  Always alert to the nature that surrounds him, they don’t walk far before they stop, so Horatio can point out some creature Andrew had not as yet spotted and can’t identify.  In a candid conversation, Horatio shares his enthusiasms for slow walking and how it makes compelling radio listening, as well as talking about his writing about nature and travel, and how walking through the landscape are critical to his work. 25’45” 12.1MB

Something of his Art: Walking to Lubeck with J. S. Bach (Field Notes) Little Toller 2018

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Peter Jaeger talking walking

Peter Jaeger is Professor of Poetics at Roehampton University.  For over 30 years he has been making pilgrimages to sacred sites around the world, keeping journals of his discoveries and walks.  Using these as source texts and drawing on literature and walking narratives, he has composed Midamble a long form poem of book length, in which he has held to specific structural constraints for more than 400 pages.  He compares writing long form poetry to walking long distances and during the discussion reveals how he structures the work in a rhythmical durational performance. 23’08” 10.8MB

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Carolyn Affleck Youngs talking walking

At the time of the publication of “Walking to Japan”, Andrew Stuck, producer of Talking Walking, was lucky enough to catch up with Canadian Carolyn Affleck Youngs in London; she had co-authored the book with her now deceased husband, Derek Youngs.  Carolyn took a walking holiday on the Camino de Santiago, in northern Spain, where she met and eventually fell in love with Derek Youngs, himself a long time pilgrim, who walked for peace.  Carolyn has quite a story of long walking of her own, but we also discuss the power of pilgrimage and she and Derek walking together, and how simply putting one step in front of the other, can have profound meaning to an individual as to society as  a whole. Behind us is bustling Bermondsey and Bankside. We had to stop several times as the ambient noise of traffic and construction became too intrusive. 18’25” 8.7MB

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Photo credits: Darrin Steinkey & Brandon Wilson

Rick Pearson talking walking

Often uncelebrated and rarely visited, the summits of each of the London boroughs can be somewhat of a let down, by the time you reach them.  However, in the company of Rick Pearson, even the climb to the highest point in London, becomes an enjoyable adventure.  Andrew Stuck accompanies him to  Westerham Heights, Bromley’s highest peak. Andrew admits he was somewhat underwhelmed when they conquered it, yet the passion and sheer exuberance of Rick as he recounts his previous conquests, and those to come, will carry you to the top.  Rick, in turn, has accompanied many others on these adventures, and you can listen to their stories on his londons-peaks.com podcast. 23’32” 11.0MB

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Listen to Rick’s recording of our adventure to Westerham Heights.

Richard Smith talking walking

Although quite a few inches shorter than Andrew Stuck, Richard Smith was one of the few people Andrew has interviewed who has walked faster than he does.  Andrew had to stop a couple of times while recording the interview just to catch his breath!  Not only a fast walker, Richard is someone who packs a lot into one life: a gynaecology cancer consultant and surgeon, internationally acclaimed womb-transplant specialist, academic author and father of four.  However, it is his enthusiasm for walking long distances, chanting while walking, and discovering pilgrimage sites that has drawn Andrew to him.

Andrew was introduced to him by one of his neighbours, fellow Scot, Tim Ingram-Smith whom Andrew has also interviewed previously for Talking Walking, and who invited Andrew to the book launch of one of Richard’s books: The Journey: Spirituality, Pilgrimage, Chant.

Garroch Head, Bute: a ‘thin place’ & place of pilgrimage

Richard accompanies Andrew on a short walk along the Regent’s Canal and within the breadth of their conversation, they discuss the value to him of walking, chant and walking in silence, as well as the benefits that walking can bring to women as they grow older, whether cancer sufferers or not. 22’48” 10.7MB

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Nick Hallissey talking walking

Andrew & Nick walk along “The Backs” in Cambridge with King’s College chapel in the background

A warm mid-summer’s day stroll through the Grantchester Meadows beside the river Cam should have been the idyllic setting for an interview by Andrew Stuck of Nick Hallissey, Deputy Editor of Country Walking magazine.

A professional walker and writer who has an encyclopeadic knowledge of walking routes throughout Britain.  For many, his must be the dream job, but as he reveals it is not just endless walks in the beautiful countryside, there’s research and meticulous preparation.  Neither of which Andrew appears to have done for this walk.  In addition, there are office-bound days prepping monthly issues of the magazine. We are also accompanied by a photographer, as Nick is keen to use images from our walk in a future feature. It is an experience Andrew has not encountered before. 11.4MB 24’19”

You can read Nick’s account of our walk in the March 2018 issue of Country Walking magazine. Want to read more of Nick’s adventures?  Country Walking Magazine are offering listeners to this podcast a discounted rate on subscriptions (including a trial package of 3 months for just £5) – just follow this link

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Why don’t you take up the Country Walking Walk 1000 miles challenge in 2018?

 

Photos were expertly taken by Richard Faulks.

Terence Bendixson talking walking

Terence Bendixson, journalist and author, is probably the longest serving campaigner for pedestrians  throughout the world, and is now the President of Living Streets in the UK, the charity formerly known as the Pedestrian’s Association.  He was recruited to the cause in the 1960s by Tom Foley, the Association’s co-founder, after an article he had written in the Guardian about the dominance of cars in our cities and towns. He his a strong believer in encouraging people to walk their daily errands, being aware of how street pattern and layout can influence travel behaviour and enhance or limit the experience of travel on foot.  He has lived almost all his life in Chelsea, now a prized neighbourhood of London, our conversation takes place there one sunny morning along roads he has walked since he was eleven.26’34” 12.5MB

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Matthew Beaumont talking walking

It is a busy summer lunchtime in Bloomsbury, and we are within a ‘stone’s throw‘ of where Charles Dickens once lived.  Andrew Stuck, producer of Talking Walking, is in the company of Matthew Beaumont, a scholar and Professor in English Literature at University College London and author of the bestselling book called “Nightwalking, a Nocturnal History of London”. His research interests go far beyond literature as he is also Co-Director of the University’s Urban Lab where he is responsible for the Cities Imagined strand.  22’17”  10.4MB

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Bradley Garrett talking walking

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Bradley Garrett describes himself as a ‘professional trespasser’ who has been exploring many hidden places and spaces ‘where we are not supposed to be’: climbing The Shard while it was under construction, breaking into the Maze prison and  abandoned underground bunkers and tube stations. When he agreed to an interview, Andrew Stuck wondered whether he would be blindfolded, bundled in a car and taken to a remote destination.

Maze prison

Maze prison

It wasn’t quite like that, although they did travel by car to the outer edges of Southampton, and then walked amongst motorways to reach a country route that took them to the River Test, in full flood.

Whether you judge Brad as a hero or a villain, there’s no way of escaping his infectious enthusiasm for going into places that you might think twice about visiting. 23’14” 10.9MB

Aldwych Disused Tube Station,

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Like what you heard and want to read more, then check out Brad Garret’s book:

Explore Everythinghttp://www.versobooks.com/authors/1820-bradley-l-garrett

Or take a peep at his photo album

 

What has Brad Garrett been doing since our interview?

“Since we took our walk together, I’ve had a big change in my life after winning a 3-year research fellowship at the University of Sydney.

This has meant leaving the UK after 10 years in the country, and beginning an entirely new project working with groups and individuals who are preparing for the apocalypse called ‘preppers’.

For the next 3 years, I will be following preppers as they build bunkers and stockpile supplies awaiting calamity, and thinking about the bunker as the ultimate private space. So in short, I’ll be spending more time digging than walking, just like when I was an archaeologist! My new book, Bunker: The Architecture of Dread, will be published by Penguin in the UK and Scribner in the USA in 2019. “

Julia Killingback talking walking

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Have you ever thought that you would like to write a guide book of walks to your local area – imagining seeing your book piled high in bookshops and bumping into people reading from your guide as they walk your local streets?

james_barke_urb.acad061

Julia Killingback didn’t just leave it to her imagination, she put her heart and soul, and considerable experience as an author, illustrator and product designer  into just such a dream.  Four Explore Walks Guides to Bristol and Clifton are the result.  However, the route she had to follow to reach this end was far from straight or smooth. 24′ 22″ 11.4MB

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Other title in the Explore Walks series – order copies of Explore Walks from here

CLIFTONWOOD COVER HOTWELLS COVER VICT CLIFTON COVER

 

Nick Hunt talking walking

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Have you been inspired by a piece of travel writing to try a similar endeavour of your own, but found circumstance or lack of courage has knocked you off your stride?  Not so Nick Hunt, who as a teenager, read Patrick Leigh Fermor’s account of a walk across Europe.  bavaria_2Nick has followed in Fermor’s footsteps, walking from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul, recounting his seven month journey in a book entitled ‘Walking the Woods and the Water’.  What pace do you set yourself? How do you keep yourself going? Who do you have as your companions? What do you learn about yourself and about walking? As I try to keep up with Nick on a walk along the popular canal towpath from Broadway Market to Islington, I ask him these questions and more. 29’27″14.5MB

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walking the woods and the water_2Buy: Nick Hunt’s Walking the woods and the water published in trade paperback by Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Photo credits: Nick Hunt


Where the wild winds are – published in 2017 – It describes a series of walks following the invisible pathways of some of Europe’s named winds – Helm, Bora, Sirocco, Foehn, Mistral – to discover how they affect landscapes, people and cultures.  READ MORE

STOP PRESS – “Where the Wild Winds are” has been shortlisted for the National Geographic Traveller Reader Award for 2018 

 

What has Nick done since our interview

“In the past year I have moved from London to Bristol, but am currently looking after a small cottage in the Lake District for the coldest, darkest, wettest of the seasons. In 2016 I spent three months living and working in Atlantis Books, a bookshop on the Greek island of Santorini, and last year led a group of friends on a ten-day walk through the Accursed Mountains of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro. I’ve been continuing to work with the Dark Mountain Project as editor and contributor, publishing two books of (loosely) ecological and ‘uncivilised’ writing a year. But my main project has been a series of walks following the invisible pathways of some of Europe’s named winds – Helm, Bora, Foehn, Mistral, Sirocco – to discover how they affect landscapes, people and cultures. The book about these journeys, Where the Wild Winds Are, was published in September 2017 by Nicholas Brealey, and is soon being translated into Italian, German and Dutch. Currently I am working on a book about London’s feral green parakeets for Paradise Road.”

STOP PRESS – soon to be published by indie publisher Paradise Road in Autumn 2018 is Nick’s study of parakeets in London – you can get a taste of it in this article that Nick wrote.

Linda Cracknell talking walking

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Linda Cracknell is an author who at the time of the interview was about to have published “Doubling Back–Ten paths trodden in memory” a moving memoir where she retraces ten walks undertaken by others, from the Highlands of Scotland to the Swiss Alps and Kenya.  It had been chosen as a Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 that was broadcast in the last week of May 2014.

To order a copy of Doubling Back – click on the image

Our interview explores how she sets out to write a narrative of a journey on foot, what she leaves out and how she draws in the reader to the journey or story she tells.  Now living in Scotland, her surroundings offer her plenty of variety for walks, short or long, in the surrounding countryside, much of which is devoid of people since the Highland Clearances. Nature and isolation are both important elements in her writing, as are memories conjured or animated by other walks, some personal, some collective some political. Linda has been influenced by the land artist movement, and especially by Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, but is also stirred by the romance of ‘setting off’, as captured in the writing of Robert Louis Stevenson and Laurie Lee. This interview was recorded over the Internet. 29’31” 13.8MB

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What Linda has been doing since our interview

Linda is now writing a quarterly column for Walk Highlands magazine, and an example of her pieces check out  “Putting walks into words” for great tips on how to write about walking (March 2017).

 

Photo credit: Phil Horey  Book jacket credit: Freight Books