Click here for poster size cover of Next To Me A Robin
Contact: Ros Brady
Tel: 0779 600 5539
Barrow Court Press: Self-published
NEXT TO ME, A ROBIN
Writing From The Woods and Fields of Dartington Hall Estate Devon: 2006-2009
By Ros Brady
Paperback: £ 8
Limited edition hand-bound hardback: £45
When Ros Brady first walks into the rain and the sun of a Devon summer and stands among the wild flowers in the fields searching for peace and a sense of belonging the young writer and the rolling half-wild, half-farmed landscape of Dartington are joined in an experience that will haunt her forever.
These are her writings in poetry and prose. Pencilled outdoors on scraps of paper they lead the reader, young or old, on her trail through the ash copses in storm, in the heat of summer, among the birds, the wild animals, the river and streams in rain and hail, at day-break and night.
In this unusual book the protagonist sets up a special relationship with her readers and invites them to enter into her place in the landscape. She strikes up a close bond with her reader. ‘NEXT TO ME, A ROBIN’ contains other elements one would expect to find only in a novel: central narratives of arrival and departure, loss and belonging.
Frequent line drawings heighten the texts. They are an integral part of the story and have fully realized the poems. The strong visual element keeps hooking the reader back in and, though the book follows a trajectory through the author’s inner and outward landscape up to her departure from Devon in 2009, the reader can dip in and out at any point. In nine chapters such ‘Spring River’, ‘Fox’, ‘Spiders and Insects’ and ‘Dark’ four years have been conflated into one.
Packed full of pen and ink illustrations, botanical footnotes, quotes from Classical and early English literature and from the humorous nature diaries of Bram the gamekeeper, ‘NEXT TO ME, A ROBIN’ is essential and accessible reading in this age when many seek a closer relationship with nature. The author reminds us of the silky bonds between us and the natural world, of the delight of the outdoors and of the value of silence.
The title pays tribute to the seminal study ‘The Life Of The Robin’ researched and written on Dartington Hall Estate by ornithologist David Lack. The limited hand-bound editions were made by nationally acclaimed book-binder, Mary Bartlett at The Dartington Bookbinding Workshop.
About the Author and Illustrator
Ros Brady’s previous publications include her essay ‘Into The Woods’ published by Green Books in the anthology ‘Landscape into Literature’ which includes essays by Hunter Davies, Brian Pattern, Penelope Lively and Richard Mabey. She is a song-writer and composer and lives with Simon Barron in the west-country, England.
Simon Barron is an artist, illustrator and Ros’ co-songwriter.
‘Ros Brady moves slowly through the natural world and observes closely, feels deeply and thinks originally: what could be more important? Ros shares her relationship with this world through her vivid writing with its unusual metaphors. Stars are the keys of a piano; the holly tree scratches the wind; summer unfastens her faded smock: the reader looks, learns and experiences life in a new way.
The strong line drawings by Simon Barron complement the clarity of the writing and illuminate this journey into a green and vibrant land. Ros Brady has produced a very special book’
Kay Dunbar, Director of ‘Ways With Words’ Literature Festivals in UK, France and Italy
‘Next To Me a Robin’ is an amazing book! Because I cannot put it down– and in the way it speaks to me so that I bond with it immediately. In ‘Still Pool Copse’ I found the best description of a Nightjar song that I have ever heard (- and how beautifully simple - ‘The Nightjar purred’) Thank you for this wonderful book!’ George Cullam, Devon, England
‘Thank you for your beautiful book. I've read it cover to cover and so has my Mum. I couldn't put it down. I was there.’ Becky Mills, North Yorks, England