Category Archives: Writer

Interview with authors

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

 

Katrina Naomi talking walking

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In this episode, Andrew Stuck talks to Katrina Naomi, a poet and walker who lives in Penzance, Cornwall.

Her latest collection is The Way the Crocodile Taught Me (Seren 2016)  She is currently poet-in-residence at the Leach Pottery in St Ives. She has just returned from an Arts Council writing project in Japan, where she was walking in the poet Basho’s footsteps. Katrina has a PhD in creative writing from Goldsmiths and has previously been writer-in-residence at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Yorkshire, at the Arnolfini in Bristol and at Gladstone’s Library in North Wales.

The interview was recorded in September 2011 on a walk across Streatham Common close to where Katrina lives. 16’32” 7.8MB

Download notes from the interview with Katrina_Naomi

STOP PRESSKatrina was commissioned by BBC Local Radio to write and record a poem for National Poetry Day 2018 – you can watch a video of her reciting ‘Countrywoman‘ set in Cornwall or download the poem form Katrina’s website

Phoebe Taplin talking walking

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Phoebe Taplin, a freelance journalist and international walk route author, talks to Andrew Stuck. At the time of the interview Phoebe had recently returned from Moscow, where she and her husband had lived for the past 4 years. In her effort to discover the city, she formed a walking group and researched where to walk in Moscow. MoscowWalksSpringMany of these walks were published in the Moscow News, a local paper, and Phoebe is selecting 48 of these to be published in guide book form. The interview was recorded in May 2011 on a walk around residential streets in Bishops Stortford, a marked contrast from many of the walks in Moscow. 20’39” 9.7MB

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BookcoverWhat has Phoebe done since our interview

“2011 onwards: I have a walking group, composed of random friends and contacts, and I lead walks most weeks all over the South East and beyond… We’ve walked the Capital Ring, London Loop, Thames path, Herts Way, Essex Way, Icknield Way and many others… Last year we also explored (among other things) ‘Global London’, following on from several years of ‘Russian London’…

2011-2012 – Wrote four seasonal walking guides to Moscow; 11,000 copies of each one were published! The Summer guide has now sold out and Autumn is almost gone; Spring and Winter still available (for now) on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Moscow-Walks-Winter-Phoebe-Taplin/dp/5905600023. Since we talked, the international arm of the old state news agency Ria Novosti, which published my books, has been closed down by the Russian Government and the Moscow News is long gone too. I think they were both a bit too independent for the increasingly authoritarian regime there.

2013 – Wrote a little book about Henley-on-Thames for Pitkin Press and the Rowing Museum https://www.amazon.co.uk/Henley-Thames-Pitkin/dp/1841654299/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Since the interview, I have explored the area I now live in very thoroughly and been involved in the local Footpath association…
2014-2015 – Wrote two walking guides to the lovely Harcamlow Way (a long distance route through Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire), also available on amazon. https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=harcamlow+way

Regular contributions to various travel magazines including Country Walking Magazine, covering East of England and beyond.

2018 – two forthcoming books of film-related walks upcoming with Pitkin Press. One of these is a Film Lovers Guide to Oxford, including walks along the Thames Path and beyond. The other is a guide to locations for the TV series Outlander (!) around Glasgow and Edinburgh.

My other latest project involves researching car-free travel guides across the UK for a new website, Good Journey, which promotes and celebrates getting about on trains, buses, on foot and by bike, https://www.goodjourney.org.uk/.”

Len Banister talking walking

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Len Banister, former Founder member and chair of the Greater London Ramblers’ Forum, and a prolific walk route deviser and author, accompanies Andrew Stuck on a walk through Walthamstow.

Recorded October, 2010 Published November 2011 20’08” 9.5 MB
Download notes of items mentioned in this episode: Len Banister

 

What has Len been doing since our interview:

“Since we last spoke, although I have continued writing walks – particularly for magazines, I have ceased working for the Greater London Ramblers’ Forum.  The Ramblers‘ work in London has become increasingly difficult for two reasons:

  • The responsibility for the upkeep of the Strategic Paths has reverted to the Boroughs which results in the need for complex negotiation, time consuming monitoring, and the difficulty involved in the identification of anyone within the authority willing to take responsibility.
  • The paradox that most Ramblers’ organised walking in London is enjoyed by those on the periphery of the Capital whilst those members living centrally, because of better transport networks, tend to walk more regularly in the countryside.

I now give talks to other organisations on the history of the Ramblers and have responsibility for Rights of Way Liaison in Essex.  In this latter role I have been setting up volunteer groups across the county which take responsibility for clearing, signing, and maintaining path furniture.

I’ve just had an experience which might be worth relating.  At the very end of November, I entered hospital for open-heart surgery to replace a heart valve and insert two bi-passes.  I am now back walking 5 or six miles a day with every prospect of returning to 12-mile outings in 2 or 3 months’ time.  My reason for mentioning this is that my consultant attributes my fast recovery to my walking history.

I’ve just written a walk over the Walthamstow Wetlands…it may yet appear in Country Walking Magazine.”

Leo Hollis talking walking

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Leo Hollis, author and historian, leads Andrew Stuck on a walk through the City of London, discussing how walking has revealed the history of this fascinating city. The interview was recorded in the summer of 2010 and published in September 2011. 20’45” 9.7MB

Download notes of items mentioned in this episode: Leo_Hollis

Tom Bolton talking walking

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Tom Bolton is seeking out on foot the routes of eight hidden rivers in London, compiling a treasure trove of little known facts, which he is bringing together in a book, part guide part journal that will be published in May 2011. Andrew Stuck accompanies him along part of the route of the River Effra, from Crystal Place to Norwood, in south London – we only encounter the sound of the river as it flows beneath a manhole cover in Norwood New Town. 19′ 50″ 9.3MB

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Meet and walk with Tom on one of the Museum of Walking’s London’s Loss walkshops and keep up to date with Tom’s activities: by checking his website

Cover imageWhat has Tom Bolton done since our interview:

“Since 2010, when this interview was recorded, I have published “London’s Lost Rivers“, which I was writing at the time, and two more books on hidden London culture and history: “Vanished City“, about London neighbourhoods that have disappeared from the map, and “Camden Town: Dreams of Another London“, about a London everyone thinks they already know. I have also completed a PhD at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, entitled ‘Wrong Side of the Tracks? The Development of London’s Railway Terminus Neighbourhoods‘, which shows how railway lines and stations have shaped the places around them. I am now writing a book about the Essex coast, Low Country, due for publication in late 2018.”

Geoff Nicholson talking walking

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Geoff Nicholson talks to Andrew Stuck about how he came to writing about the Lost Art of Walking – listen to this intriguing interview in which Geoff talks about some of the eccentrics from the world of walking. The interview was recorded over the Internet in March 2010 and is published to coincide with the UK publication of the Lost Art of Walking. 19’04” 8.9MB

 

Download notes from the interview with Geoff_Nicholson

In October, 2013 Geoff made a 5 year walking forecastlisten here

 

What has Geoff Nicholson done since our interview?

“I see that I was researching ‘Walking in Ruins‘ at the time of the interview – now published – Read a review here.

Last year I published ‘The Miranda’ – a novel about walking and torture – about a man who tries to walk around the world without leaving his own back yard.” Read a review here. A year or so back I did a BBC Radio 4 programme with Claire Balding – for Ramblingslisten here.”

 

Nick Cowen talking walking

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Andrew Stuck accompanies Nick Cowen, a Senior Rights of Way officer on a walk to inspect a bridleway in south Wiltshire that has been recently cleared by a contractor. FlintNick is an accomplished photographer and musician and has recently turned his hand to writing about his work as seen through the eyes of an early nineteenth century pedestrian tourist. The interview was recorded in September 2009. 19′ 40″ 9.2MB

Download notes of items mentioned in this episode: Nick_Cowen

Since we recorded this interview, Nick has turned his hand to contemporary fiction with “Trust Harrison” – it may be fiction but you won’t find a truer insight into the trials of a Rights of Way warden.

STOP PRESS on the 15 August 2019 Nick Cowen retired after 30 years as a Rights of Way officer.