My principal motivation for writing is to spread the word of nature conservation. I also find it intellectually stimulating and enjoyable if I can duck the many disturbances running a Field Studies Centre entails. A favourite writing hideaway is 'The Illicit Still', a Thoreauvian hut on the loch at Aigas. My genre is autobiography with a strong natural history focus although I have written one work of fiction, 'One for Sorrow', about a local environmental saga. I hugely enjoy hearing from my readers and regularly contribute readings and other literary events at Aigas.
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To be published in August 2017 by Canongate.
To a country boy this tapestry of colour, movement and mystery was an irresistible draw, a treasure trove of wholly unimagined, each discovery bursting unforgettably into my consciousness: every newt a nugget of gold, every wren's nest a gem, every slow worm a bracelet of silver. To a nine-year-old, a muddy ditch became a great wetland. A tangled hawthorn thicket with a magpie's nest embodied all the thrill of the wild wood. It was a countryside that never ended .......
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PUBLISHED IN 2015 (Canongate UK & Pegasus USA). paperback only available.
In February 2016, this book was awarded the inaugural Richard Jefferies Society Writer's Prize.
For more than three decades, John Lister-Kaye has been enraptured by the spectacular seasonal metamorphosis at Aigas, the world-renowned Highlands field centre. Over the years, the glen’s wildlife has come to infiltrate his soul, whether it is a warbling blackcap’s cascading refrains, whooper swans hauling winter along with them, pine martens causing havoc in the hen run, loyal resident tawny owls defending their territory from adolescents, or a regal roe buck strutting in the broom and gorse, suddenly gilded by a fiery ray of sunlight.
John Lister-Kaye has come to understand intimately the movements of these beloved creatures, but increasingly unpredictable weather patterns have caused sometimes subtle, sometimes seismic shifts in their behaviour. Gods of the Morning follows a year through the turning of the seasons at Aigas, exploring the habits of the Highland animals, and in particular the birds – his gods of the morning, for whom he has nourished a lifelong passion.
Gods of the Morning is an affectionate and wise celebration of the British landscape and the birds that come and go through the year, a lyrical reminder of the relationship we have lost with the seasons and a call to look afresh at the natural world around us.
Another contribution to the nature writing genre. A circular walk at Aigas exploring the many different habitats and species through the eyes of a naturalist.
Voted Waterstone's Scottish Book of the Month in February 2010
The sequel to Song of the Rolling Earth. For twelve years I thought I was teaching my youngest daughter, Hermione, about natural history and wildlife. We travelled the world together from the Arctic pack ice to the Kalahari Desert, to the Shetland Isles and the sea caves of Malta. I was wrong. I wasn’t teaching her, she was taking me back to my childhood to rediscover the wonders of nature seen through the eyes of a child.
The autobiographical story of Aigas Field Centre and a historical reconstruction of the Aigas place from the Bronze Age to the present day. My first attempt at lyrical nature writing, this book has proved to be very popular and continues to sell strongly around the world.
John has also written contributions in other books including Nature Tales (Elliott & Thomson 2011) and written forewords for others, including Ring of Bright Water (Little Toller Books 2009) and Harpoon at a Venture – Gavin Maxwell, (House of Lochar 1998), Wildlife Crime (Whittles, Caithness 2012)