Robert Macfarlane is a fellow of Emmanuel College Cambridge and the author of bestselling and prize winning books, including The Wild Places, The Old Ways, Holloway and Landmarks.
His work has been translated into many languages and widely adapted for film, television and radio. The American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the E.M Forster Award for Literature 2017. Other awards include Guardian First Book Award, Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, Scottish non-fiction book of the year, and twice shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.
He is a word-collector and mountain-climber - and he has 3 young children who have taught him more about the world than any book.
Robert beautifully sums up the concept of their book in this transcription from his feature on BBC Newsnight December 2017:
"My response was twofold: an anxiety at what was being lost, and a wish, a powerful wish, to do something hopeful in response. And then, by a kind of magical thinking, by the power of spells that might be spoken and images that were painted, we would try and summon back those creatures and those trees and those plants into the mouths and mind's eye of children. A National Trust survey from earlier this year (2017) found that a third of British adults couldn't identify a Barn Owl, three quarters didn't know an Ash tree and two thirds felt that they had lost touch with nature. Yes, a basic literacy of the living world is slipping from us from up and down the ages. Why do names matter? Why does being able to tell the difference between a Starling and a Blackbird or between a Cherry tree and Hawthorn matter? It matters because we are losing nature as well as the names for nature in this country. We've got more than 50% of species in decline. And names, good names, well used can help us see and they help us care. We find it hard to love what we cannot give a name to. And what we do not love we will not save."
Jackie Morris grew up in the vale of Evesham and studied at the Hereford College of Arts and at Bath Academy.
2019 saw Jackie win both the prestigious Cilip Kate Greenaway Medal and The Shadower's Choice Awards for her stunning artwork in The Lost Words: A Spell Book. She has illustrated for the New Statesman, Independent and Guardian, collaborated with Ted Hughes, and has written and illustrated over 40 books, including beloved classics such as The Snow Leopard, The Ice Bear, Song of the Golden Hare, Tell me a Dragon, East of the Sun, West of the Moon and The Wild Swans. Jackie Morris lives in a cottage on the cliffs of Pembrokeshire.
From a visual perspective Jackie's mind-opening paintings summon into being the Lost Words and lost nature that she so dearly believes in. These paintings have a magical otherworldly feel that make us look again at the world around us. Her ability to capture the wildness, essence, power, character and wisdom of the natural world is a source of inspiration to any who see them. She has proved that spells can be woven visually as well as verbally. The Lost Words - Spell Songs will draw heavily on Jackie's artwork and vision for inspiration. The book is as much a work of art as a work of literature. Carefully crafted projections of Jackie's artwork will accompany the musicians on stage and form an integral part of the live show. At select shows Jackie will paint live, her work fed to a screen so that the audience can see her painting unfold.
"Since the publication of The Lost Words in October we have been so moved by the response of people to place the books in schools across the country. So many people have given time and money to make this happen, in such a spirit of generosity.
My hope for the book whilst I worked on it was that it might bring a focus to the nearby wild that we live amongst, the every day wild that so many take for granted or simply do not see. And this is happening. Some people have described our book as a movement, as a call to arms, as we see the natural world depleted by our actions, species in decline, under threat. I see it not as a call to arms, but as a call to link arms, to join together, to bring about a change.
The Lost Words is a protest against the decline of the natural world at the hands of man, it's a song of hope in words and images, and I hope is proof that sometimes protest doesn't have to be loud, and can be beautiful." - Jackie Morris