How Can Language and Story Connect Us to the Natural World? Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
Elizabeth-Jane Burnett discusses The Grassling and Of Sea in our fourth event with Africa Writes–Exeter Book Club, exploring the ways language and story compel us to connect deeper to the world around us, on land and beneath the sea.
The Grassling delves into Burnett’s family and the local history of a small Devon village. Through layers of memory, language and natural history, the memoir tells a powerful story of how the land shapes and speaks to us. Burnett explores what it means to belong when the soil beneath our feet constantly shifts, and when the people and places that nurtured us slip away.
Turning to the marine fauna, Of Sea dives into a poetic expedition of creatures living beneath, beside and above the water.
Elizabeth-Jane Burnett is an author and academic. A writer of English and Kenyan heritage, she was born in Devon and her work is inspired by the natural world. Publications include the poetry collections Of Sea (Penned in the Margins, 2021) and Swims (Penned in the Margins, 2017), nature writing memoir The Grassling (Penguin, 2019) and literary critical monograph A Social Biography of Contemporary Innovative Poetry Communities: The Gift, the Wager and Poethics (Palgrave, 2017). She is Associate Professor in Creative Writing at Northumbria University and was recently awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2021-22) for her research on Creative Writing and Climate Change: Developing a New Wetlands Literature. She is founder of Grow Your Own Creativity and a nature diarist for Oh magazine and the Guardian.
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