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There are still wild places out there on our crowded planet.
Through a series of personal journeys, Dan Richards explores the appeal of far-flung outposts in mountains, tundra, forests, oceans and deserts. Following a route from the Cairngorms of Scotland to the fire-watch lookouts of Washington State; from Iceland's 'Houses of Joy' to the Utah desert; frozen ghost towns in Svalbard to shrines in Japan; Roald Dahl's writing hut to a lighthouse in the North Atlantic, Richards explores landscapes which have inspired writers, artists and musicians, and asks: why are we drawn to wilderness? What can we do to protect them? And what does the future hold for outposts on the edge?
Dan Richards was born in Wales in 1982. His first book, Holloway, co-authored with Robert Macfarlane & illustrated by Stanley Donwood, was published by Faber in 2013.
In The Beechwood Airship Interviews (HarperCollins, 2015), Dan explored into the creative process, head-spaces and workplaces of some of Britain’s most celebrated artists, craftsman and technicians including Bill Drummond, Dame Judi Dench, Jenny Saville, Manic Street Preachers, Jane Bown & Stewart Lee.
Climbing Days, his third (Faber 2016), saw him set out on the trail of his pioneering great-great-aunt and uncle, Dorothy Pilley & I.A. Richards. Following in the pair's foot and hand-holds, Dan travelled across Europe, using Dorothy’s 1935 mountaineering memoir as a guide. Ending up atop the mighty Dent Blanche in the high Alps of Valais.
Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth (Canongate, 2019), is an exploration of the appeal and pull of far-flung shelters in mountains, tundra, forests, oceans and deserts; landscapes and which have long inspired adventurers, pilgrims, writers, artists & musicians.
Dan has written about travel, landscape, art and music for the Economist, Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, Caught by the River, Monocle and The Quietus amongst others. He is an RLF Writing Fellow at Bristol University.
"There's a special magic in Richards' luminous descriptions of nature and place, but also in the stories he tells [...] Richards has penned a thoughtful and beautifully written meditation on our quest to find spaces in which we can find something unexpected in ourselves and forge a new relationship with the natural world"
"Richards' prose is by turns beautiful, funny, evocative and learned, the pages illuminated by lovely, warming footnotes [...] [Richards' voice is] vivid, self-deprecating, literary and very, very funny"
"Dan Richards is a wonderful storyteller, wise, wry and open-hearted, the perfect travelling companion. Outpost tells stories of emptiness, but is bursting with gorgeous life and language. It is a joy to read"
– Max Porter
"Vivid, funny and moving – a wonderful stylist"
– Sarah Perry
"Fascinating and funny"
– Financial Times
"Dan Richards is brave, bold, pure of spirit and, on occasion, foolish. In Outpost Dan follows both his father's footsteps and his own heart to explore the furthest possibilities of human habitation, and our interface with a changing wilderness. Intelligent, surreal and always generous, Dan Richards is a Jerome K. Jerome for our set-upon times who bequeaths us that rarest gift – laughter"
– Katharine Norbury, author of The Fish Ladder
"This book will be equally at home in the library of the armchair traveller and the kitbag of the weather-beaten nomad – Dan Richards has created an atlas of adventure for every reader possessed of an intrepid imagination"
– Nancy Campbell, author of The Library of Ice
"Dan Richards is that rare thing, a writer whose way of looking at the world is utterly unique [...] Outpost is shot through with a sense of wonder, an infectious enthusiasm and a surreal wit. Pure joy"
– Rupert Thomson
"An incredible book, beautifully written, wild and wickedly funny"
– Philip Hoare
"Just my kind of book, stuffed full of telling oddities, strange encounters and lyricism. Richards brings to us the supreme joy, glory and terror of what it is to be truly isolated in the wild"
– Benedict Allen