Canongate scoops new nature writing The Oak Papers

Canongate scoops new nature writing The Oak Papers

Canongate is publishing a meditation on the natural world based on one man’s relationship with a tree, The Oak Papers by James Canton.

Editorial director at Canongate Simon Thorogood acquired world rights from Jessica Woollard at David Higham Associates.

The book transpired after Canton spent two years sitting with and studying the Honywood Oak, a colossus of a tree which would have been a sapling when the Magna Carta was signed.

In it he examines "our long-standing dependence on the oak and how that has developed and morphed into myth and legend".

Thorogood said: "This is a book about one man’s relationship with a tree. But it is also so much more than that. It is a beautiful meditation on time, woodlands, our relationship with the natural world, literary reckonings with trees, myth, folklore and history. One-part The Man Who Planted Trees, one-part Oliver Rackham, but entirely its own thing."

Canton runs the Wild Writing MA at the University of Essex and has already authored books including Ancient Wonderings (William Collins, 2017) and Out of Essex: Re-Imagining a Literary Landscape (2013). 

He said: "The Oak Papers has evolved slowly in some unhurried and gentle manner into a work I am now very proud of. I’m very pleased to see Canongate take the book on the next stage of its growth to publication."

Canongate will publish in hardcover in July 2020.