John Murray Press imprint Two Roads has acquired Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin’s Back to Nature: Conversations with the Wild, a book that "captures the essence of how we feel about the wildlife outside our windows", for publication this November.
Editorial director Kate Hewson bought world rights from David Foster at David Foster Management, calling it an "incredibly timely" book, and citing how this year many people found solace in the natural world. She described the title as a "perennially important book about what we get from nature, and what we can give back".
Due to publish in hardback, e-book and audio, Back to Nature interweaves "personal stories, conservation breakthroughs and fascinating scientific discoveries", according to Two Roads, and explores "the wonder and the solace of the wild, and the ways in which we can connect with it".
It follows the success of Packham and McCubbin’s Self-Isolating Bird Club during lockdown, which gained 41,000 followers on Facebook and 27,000-plus on Twitter, with its posts topping eight million views. The 2020 edition of "Springwatch", co-fronted by Packham, was one of the most popular instalments of the series to date, averaging over 2.5 million viewers per episode.
Packham is a host of BBC2's "Springwatch", "Autumnwatch" and "Winterwatch", and penned a successful autobiography, Fingers in the Sparkle Jar. He said: "As I write, there are children digging small ponds, people diligently counting butterflies, protesters in tree camps and others typing furiously to their MPs, demanding a better place for wildlife. We’re all inspired by nature, most [of us are] by small things—the sparkle of dew on a daisy, the ruby bead of a ladybird on the tip of their finger, the tickle of tadpoles on the palm of their hands. And now many people harbour that tenacity and desire to do the right thing and make a difference for life on Earth. And they, we, you, I can. Because although our world is going to hell in a handcart, we know how to halt it, repair it, restore it; how to re-wild it and re-introduce things to it. Our recent tribulations have taught us that simple nature can offer us a cure; now we need to provide that cure in return. We cannot afford to turn our back to nature, we simply have to fix it. Here’s how."
McCubbin, a zoologist, wildlife TV presenter, conservationist and photographer, said: "Since the lockdown began, we have found ourselves more engaged and excited about the natural world on our doorsteps. Like many, I have found huge comfort watching daily as spring developed, noticing the extraordinary in the ordinary species I see every day. But it has become increasingly clear that now, more than ever, it is time to stand up and be counted for the protection of our environment. We have reconnected and recognised the value in a healthy natural world, so throughout our book we explore the science and conservation that, given the chance, can pave the way 'Back to Nature'."