Friday 19 October 2018

Mama Amazonica goes Into the Forest for BBC Radio 3's The Verb

To research for Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe Books, 2017) I went to the Peruvian Amazon twice, once in the wet season and once in the dry. Tonight, I talk about my book on Radio 3's The Verb, with a gang of forest-lovers – the poet Claire Trévien, Kate Arnold on her dulcimer – lead of the group 'Fear of the Forest', Terry Deary, Jack Bernhardt, and our host Ian McMillan. It was a bit nerve-racking but Ian kept us amused and we had fun. I must admit I was thrilled to be chatting about one of my very favourite things – forests! The Amazon rainforest in my case, that very endangered, dangerous, but wondrous place. Mama Amazonica is immersed in it, but is also my mentally ill mother, a double exposure where love floresces. It's just over a year since the book came out and I've been extremely lucky that in May it won the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2018 – an award given for a book evoking the spirit of place. Here are just a few pics I took in Tambopata National Reserve, though the birds – jacamar, king vultures and blue-and-gold macaws, and the spectacled caiman, are taken by my husband Brian.