As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Books and Birds – Alex Preston & Neil Gower
‘Delightful . . . an original look at the literature inspired by Britain’s birdlife’ the Guardian, Best Nature Books of 2017
‘[The] pages light up with feathered magic’ Evening Standard
When Alex Preston was 15, he stopped being a birdwatcher. Adolescence and the scorn of his peers made him put away his binoculars, leave behind the nature reserves and the quiet companionship of his fellow birders. His love of birds didn’t disappear though. Rather, it went underground, and he began birdwatching in the books that he read, creating his own personal anthology of nature writing that brought the birds of his childhood back to brilliant life. Looking for moments ‘when heart and bird are one’, Preston weaves the very best writing about birds into a personal narrative that is as much about the joy of reading and writing as it is about the thrill of wildlife. Beautifully illustrated and illuminated by the celebrated graphic artist Neil Gower, As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a book to love and to hold, to return to again and again, to marvel at the way that authors across the centuries have captured the endless grace and variety of birds. It will make you look at birds, at the world, in a newer, richer light.
‘A joyful and a wondrous book . . . Each bird illustrated by Gower in a mixture of gouache and watercolour that brings to mind both William Morris and Eric Ravilious’ the Observer
‘I can see it under the Christmas tree of every family with a bird feeder and a copy of the RSPB Handbook . . . Preston captures his birds beautifully’ The Times