The January Man – now shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize 2017.
Christopher is delighted to announce the publication of The January Man (Doubleday). The book follows a circle of walks around Britain, month by month through the course of a year, recording the nature, people, weather, landscape, music, and local traditions I came across, and whatever else called out to me along the way. It’s also a very personal account of a post-war father-son relationship, exploring the character of my father John, and the long walks we shared over many years which brought us closer together.
This is the book towards which my whole writing life has been heading.
“Christopher Somerville’s moving, measured and immaculate The January Man is part walker’s diary, part celebration of his reticent yet loving father.”
(Jim Crace, author of Quarantine and Harvest)
“For a writer, the highest compliment he or she can pay another writer is envy. And I was green on reading The January Man. It’s not just Somerville’s knowledge, it’s the truth and clarity in his prose – which is like the pure tone that comes from a tuning fork.”
(John Lewis-Stempel, author of Meadowland and The Running Hare)
“It is a wise, entertaining, kind book – one that makes you want to walk, and want to read. The language is taut, beautiful, sparky and generous. It’s a book not just for walkers or nature lovers, but anyone who loves a good plain story.” (Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry)
“This is nature at its most embracing; human nature richly woven into the cycle of the seasons and the ecologies of father and son, observed with the passion and learning of Britain’s favourite walker. A truly wonderful, uplifting book, bursting with life.”
(Nicholas Crane, BBC TV ‘Coast’ presenter)
“A rich and wonderful book which draws on Christopher Somerville’s unusually deep knowledge of Britain’s hidden pathways.”
(Hugh Thomson, author of The Green Road into the Trees)
“A terrific and touching read … The January Man is a combination of natural and human history and somehow manages to be both light- and slightly heavy-hearted … amusing but almost mystical in places too, which is a pretty incredible feat to pull off.”
The Times Britain’s Best Walks
’The Times Best Walks’ has Landed!
The Times Britain’s Best Walks by Christopher Somerville
A big, bouncy and beautiful collection of Christopher’s walks from his ‘Times’ column – 200 of them! Explore the Jurassic Coast of Dorset and the wilds of Shetland, the flowery chalk downs of Hampshire and the canals and meadows of the Midlands … Welsh mountain lakes, the dales of Yorkshire and Durham, the Lake District fells and the moors of Northern Ireland … all at Christopher’s side, complete with the practical info you need, as he entices you with stories, songs and wildlife insights along the highways, the byways, the cliffs and shingle shores of these wonderful British Isles.
– Detailed description as featured in The Times column
– Instructions on getting there
– Simple step-by-step walk instructions with distance and grading
– Where to eat, drink and get more info
– Full colour, clear and up-to-date maps and photography
About the author
‘Through the waves of malaria fever I swung the hang-glider clear of Everest with an inch to spare, as the snow leopard sank its teeth deep into the white water raft strapped to my parachute pack. Then the rip cord came off in my hand…’
Stop! Woah there! If you’re looking to find that kind of adrenaline stuff in my books and travel articles, forget it. What I love to do is walk and explore at slow pace in some of the most characterful bits of Europe. I’ve enjoyed just as much, and maybe learned more, by wandering the country lanes, the back hills and villages, especially in Britain and Ireland, as I have through adventures in the far-flung corners of the world to which a travel writer gets blown.
I have spent 25 years writing and broadcasting about country walks (and tougher hikes), life in remote rural and island communities from Scotland to Crete by way of the Faroes, music-making in Irish pubs, festivals from Spain to Sweden, and the pleasure and delight of telling stories and weaving yarns. Let this website lead you to enjoy them, too! Better still, hire me to write and broadcast some more!