Limestone Country is an account of a long-standing love affair with this sedimentary rock, largely calcium carbonate, that time and water have made out of bones and shells. It is a love letter to limestone, describing the farming, wildlife, culture and the personal experience of living in limestone country. It tells the story through four limestone landscapes – three of them in Europe, and one deeply rooted in the European imagination – and the differing ecosystems and ways of life they produce. Structured by the seasons, spring is spent in west Oxfordshire, summer in Perigord, autumn in the winegrowing Karst region of Slovenia, and finally winter in a Jerusalem that is as much imagined as it is real.
Fiona Sampson has published twenty-seven books and received the Newdigate Prize, a Cholmondeley Award, Writer's Awards from the Arts Councils of England and of Wales and the Society of Authors, various Poetry Book Society commendations, and international prizes in Macedonia and the US. She has twice been shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot Prize and Forward Prizes. She is published in thirty-seven languages; her Selected Poems recently appeared in China, the US, Romania, Ukraine and Bosnia. She is Professor of Poetry at the University of Roehampton. Last year she published The Catch (Penguin Random House) and Lyric Cousins. She is working on a new biography of Mary Shelley. She was appointed an MBE in the New Years Honours list. She lives in Carey, near Hereford.