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Amanda Thomson and Jim Crumley: Nature and Landscape

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Winter Words Festival 2023

Saturday 11 February



Jim Crumley and Amanda Thomson talk about the ways in which Scotlands’ landscape and natural beauty has inspired their writing and their Highland Book Prize 2022 Longlist books.

Amanda Thomson is a writer and visual artist who lives and works in Strathspey and Glasgow, where she teaches at the Glasgow School of Art. She has a particular interest in places, landscapes and the natural world, and a curiosity about and love of the Scottish Highlands are the threads that runs through her art-making and writing. A Scots Dictionary of Nature, a compendium of found words from 19th century Scots language dictionaries is published by Saraband. Her latest book is Belonging, Natural Histories of Place, Identity and Home, is published by Canongate. She is a regular contributor to The Guardian newspaper’s Country Diary.

Jim Crumley was born in Dundee where he trained as a newspaper journalist. His first book St Kilda, published in 1988, was the beginning of a new life as a full-time ‘pre-eminent Scottish nature writer’ (Guardian) and he has now written more than 40 books. These have included A High and Lonely Place, The Company of Swans, The Last Wolf, The Eagle’s Way, and his beaver book, Nature’s Architect. His book Seasons of Storm and Wonder, which Kathleen Jamie described as “probably his magnum opus”, documents the extraordinary natural life of the Scottish Highlands and bears witness to the toll which climate chaos is already taking on our wildlife, habitats and biodiversity.


This event is brought to you in partnership with the Highland Book Prize 2022 Longlist, and is part of a series of events celebrating each of the 12 titles on the list. Presented by the Highland Society of London and facilitated by Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre, the Highland Book Prize seeks to recognise the rich talent, landscape, and cultural diversity of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands. The William Grant Foundation provides funding to encourage public engagement with the Highland Book Prize. For more information visit

More About the books:

Belonging, Natural Histories of Place, Identity and Home
by Amanda Thomson
Reflecting on family, identity and nature, the book  is a mixture of nature writing and memoir about what it is to have and make a home. It is a love letter to nature, especially the northern landscapes of Scotland and the Scots pinewoods of Abernethy – home to standing dead trees known as snags, which support the overall health of the forest. Belonging is also a book about how we are held in thrall to elements of our past. It speaks to the importance of attention and reflection, and will encourage us all to look and observe and ask questions of ourselves, and consider how place, language and family shape us and make us who we are.
Seasons of Storm and Wonder
By Jim Crumley
This landmark volume documents the extraordinary natural life of the Scottish Highlands and bears witness to the toll which climate chaos is already taking on our wildlife, habitats and biodiversity – laying bare what is at stake for future generations. 

A display of head-turning autumn finery on Skye provokes Jim Crumley to contemplate both the glories of the season and how far the seasons themselves have shape-shifted since his early days observing his natural surroundings.

After a lifetime immersed in Scotland’s landscapes and enriched by occasional forays in other northern lands, Jim has amassed knowledge, insight and a bank of memorable imagery chronicling the wonder, tumult and spectacle of nature’s seasonal transformations. He has witnessed not only nature’s unparalleled beauty, but also how climate chaos and humankind has brought unwanted drama to wildlife and widespread destruction of ecosystems and habitats.

In this landmark volume, Jim combines lyrical prose and passionate eloquence to lay bare the impact of global warming and urge us all towards a more daring conservation vision that embraces everything from the mountain tree-line to a second spring for the wolf.