Mark Cocker, an award-winning Norfolk nature writer of long-standing, will be launching his new book, Our Place, and reflecting on the central role of Norfolk in the development of the British conservation movement during a live interview with Jean McNeil from UEA’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing.

The British Archive for Contemporary Writing at the UEA will also present Mark’s working archive, giving an insight into the field work and approaches that Mark takes in his writing. The evening will be completed with an open debate chaired by Jos Smith from the UEA School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, including Jean McNeil and other invited nature writers, Laurence Rose, Karen Lloyd and James Lowen, along with the audience, discussing the role of nature writing today. What is the relationship between nature writing and conservation practice, what does it offer over television documentaries like Blue Planet and social media campaigning, and how important is it to the way we view nature into the future? Enjoy a wine reception and have your say as we open up this timely and important debate.

Jean McNeil is the author of twelve books, including five novels and a collection of short fiction, a collection of poetry, a travel guide and literary essays. Her most recent novel, Fire on the Mountain, was published earlier this year by Legend Press. She is a reader in creative writing at the University of East Anglia.

Laurence Rose is a naturalist and conservationist whose work has ranged from creating urban greenspace to advocating global treaties. He has worked for the RSPB in roles as diverse as nature reserve management, international capacity building and community engagement. His book The Long Spring is published in March, and explores of the past, present and future of our connections to nature, as well as reflecting on his own long personal and professional relationship with wildlife.

Karen Lloyd lives on the edge of the English Lake District, where she writes non-fiction and poetry focussing on the natural world and the environment. She is currently undertaking a PhD at Lancaster University, investigating abundance in nature.

James Lowen is a nature and travel writer whose nine books include A Summer of British Wildlife, which won Travel Guide Book of the Year 2016. He regularly writes about wildlife and conservation for magazines such as BBC Wildlife, The Countryman and Bird Watching.

The debate will be chaired by Jos Smith. Jos is a poet and lecturer at UEA where he teaches, among other things, a module of ‘writing place’. Originally from Canterbury, he has also lived in Liverpool, Nottingham and Exeter before settling in Norwich. His essays and poetry have appeared in a range of UK journals, magazines, pamphlets, and anthologies and all explore the creative possibilities of our imaginative relationship with landscape and place. He is also the author of The New Nature Writing: Rethinking the Literature of Place and a fully paid up member of the Cloud Appreciation Society.

The ticket price of £10 includes attendance at the book launch and debate, plus wine reception. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite.