Robert Macfarlane

b. 1976

Robert Macfarlane was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2011.

The news that I ‘d been elected a Fellow of the RSL came out of a clear blue sky one day in 2012. No rumours, no murmurs, no knowledge I was even being considered. Just – wham! – the thrill of the fact of it, and not long afterwards I signed myself in with TS Eliot’s pen (thank you Old Possum) and a wide smile.

Landmarks, my most recent book, arose out of a desire to celebrate and defend the rich language for landscape that we possess across the island-group presently and uneasily known as the United Kingdom and Ireland. Zawn, wurr, feadan, ffridd, skradge, sun-scald…I spent eight years gathering thousands of place-terms from dozens of languages and dialects, hoping to release them back into imaginative circulation. The book and its many words have led an unexpected and exciting life since then.

Presently I’m reading Don Watson’s The Bush, and James Ellroy’s Perfidia, which make an ultra-high-contrast pair (Watson’s elegant exegesis, Ellroy’s police-radio rat-a-tat crime-rap).

Photo of Robert Macfarlane is taken on the summit  of Piz Sarsura, in the Albua Alps, Switzerland.


Articles by Robert Macfarlane

Finding Wonderland

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst celebrates the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,

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Eleanor Catton in conversation with Robert Macfarlane

2013 Man Booker winner Eleanor Catton in conversation with Robert Macfarlane

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