We’re delighted to welcome Hattie Garlick to this year’s NiddFest. Hattie is a writer, journalist and founder of the blog Free Our Kids. Her new book ‘Born To Be Wild’ is both full of nature activities for families and insight and interviews with scientists, psychologists and other experts on the importance of nature in our lives.
Hattie will be giving a talk about her book at 10am on Saturday 6th August at the Memorial Hall, Pateley Bridge. Then she’ll be heading to our children’s tent to join in the fun and run a few outdoor activities from her book.
Like all NiddFest authors, we sent Hattie a short Q and A. Here are her answers.
1) What is your earliest memory of the natural world?
I wish I could say I had some bucolic early epiphany but the reality is far less dramatic: flashes and snatches of ordinary life like my first goldfish (Rebecca) slaloming round the weed in her bowl, a terrier sticking his head out of the car window, and a whelks on the rocks of a wet Welsh beach
2) Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes. Well, after a brief spell as an aspiring hairdresser (that dream died early, as I could never do plaits…) It was the only thing I was ever any good at.
3) Who were the first authors who inspired you to start writing?
An American author called Nancy Carlson wrote a series of books now seemingly forgotten about an adventurous, anthropomorphised dog called Harriet. She shared my first name and propensity for getting into trouble (accidentally trampling the neighbours prize roses, eating so much Halloween candy she felt hideously sick). I think I was hooked from there.
4) Do you have a favourite place or landscape?
I have three. Two are real: Carmarthenshire as a whole for its ancient craggy hills and Scolt Head island in North Norfolk for its seals and seascape. The third I’ve never actually seen but it’s described in my favourite poem, The Peninsula by Seamus Heaney, and I travel there imaginatively most months…
5) How do you feel about the state of the natural world today?
Conflicted! Enormously protective, but also reluctant to treat it like an endangered resource that must be preserved, tip toed round and treated with too much reverence. Nature is for getting stuck into.
6) Do you have a motto?
7) What are you working on at the moment?
Two books: a new book of nature activities that’s designed for children themselves to read and play with independently from adults, and another on elephant poaching in Tanzania.
8) Three desert island reads?
Argh! That’s impossible! I’ll give you one: the poem I mentioned above, The Peninsula by Seamus Heaney. Because it says nothing much at all, yet everything at the same time. It starts with the lines: When you have nothing more to say, just drive/ For a day all around the peninsula’ and is basically an invitation to shut up and just feel how little you are against the might and magnitude of nature. It always helps me put my problems in perspective!