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John Lister-Kaye has spent a lifetime exploring, protecting and celebrating the British landscape and its wildlife. His memoir The Dun Cow Rib is the story of a boy's awakening to the wonders of the natural world.
Lister-Kaye's joyous childhood holidays – spent scrambling through hedges and ditches after birds and small beasts, keeping pigeons in the loft and tracking foxes around the edge of the garden – were the perfect apprenticeship for his two lifelong passions: exploring the wonders of nature, and writing about them. Threaded through his adventures – from moving to the Scottish Highlands to work with Gavin Maxwell, to founding the famous Aigas Field Centre – is an elegy to his remarkable mother, and a wise and affectionate celebration of Britain's natural landscape.
Sir John Lister-Kaye is one of Britain's best-known naturalists and conservationists. He is the author of ten books on wildlife and the environment and has lectured all over the world. He has served prominently in the RSPB, the Nature Conservancy Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. In 2003 he was awarded an OBE for services to nature conservation. In 2016 he was awarded the Royal Scottish Geographical Society's Geddes Medal for services to the environment. He lives with his wife and family among the mountains of the Scottish Highlands, where he runs the world-famous Aigas Field Centre. His book Gods of the Morning won the inaugural Richard Jefferies Prize.
"[...] a fine memoir, vivid in the writing, honest in the telling [...]"
– James Robertson, British Wildlife 29(4), April 2018
"No one writes more movingly, or with such transporting poetic skill"
– Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk
"A great naturalist"
– Chris Packham
"Generous, poetic and wise, John Lister-Kaye is a national treasure"
– Patrick Barkham, author of Badgerlands
"A book of land-knowing by someone who has spent a gentle lifetime learning the languages of animals [...] with an untameable enthusiasm and generosity of spirit"
– Jay Griffiths, author of Wild: An Elemental Journey
"John Lister-Kaye is one of the most joyful, inspirational naturalists I know"
– Kate Humble