Simon Prosser, publishing director at Hamish Hamilton, has acquired a biography of writer and naturalist Roger Deakin, authored by Patrick Barkham (pictured).
Prosser bought world rights from Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown, with the support and blessing of Roger’s literary executor Robert Macfarlane. The biography will be published in 2022.
Deakin is best known for his nature writing such as Waterlog (Vintage, 2000) and Notes from Walnut Tree Farm (Penguin, 2009). The synopsis for the biography reads: "Barkham’s biography will follow Roger Deakin’s tree of life, from roots to fruits, from his heartwood to the subterranean communities that sustain every tree and person. Today Deakin’s ideas are like hundreds of seedlings, flourishing in the wider world. Like Deakin himself, his biography cannot be conventional but must be a free-wheeling exploration of a life vividly revealed by Deakin’s unique archive and interviews with the diverse band of close friends who survive him."
Prosser said: "Working with Roger Deakin was a highlight of my working life, not least as it felt so much like play! Roger’s uniquely wayward spirit and insatiable curiosity infused every aspect of his life and writing, from the handmade home he built at Walnut Tree Farm, to his freewheeling travels, to his brilliantly observed up-close descriptions of the wild world. Summarising Roger in a few sentences is literally impossible — he was so much and so many things. It would take a book to do it — and happily there will now be one, and from the perfect writer for it, Patrick Barkham. I can’t wait to revisit Roger and his world and his words in Patrick’s company, and I know that many thousands of Roger’s devoted readers will feel the same."
Barkham said: "Like everyone else who reads Waterlog, I was entranced by Roger Deakin’s transformative, aquatic vision of Britain. Like other readers, I wished I could enjoy Roger’s company over dinner. I never did, but I feel hugely privileged to be writing his biography. Many writers lead boring lives but Roger Deakin emphatically did not. I hope I can capture the essence of his work, his ideas and his heartland, Walnut Tree Farm, where his spirit still reverberates so strongly. I will try my best to do justice to this extraordinary man and to the equally amazing people who were his relatives, friends, colleagues and lovers."
Barkham is the author of five books including three from Granta Books; The Butterfly Isles (2010), Badgerlands (2014) and Wild Child (2020).