08 August 2023
A new book about elms underway

I guess you can take the woman out of forest campaigning but you can't take the forest campaigner out of the woman, so perhaps it is no surprise that I have a new tree-related project. Last year I was commissioned to write about the oldest elm tree in Europe, known as the Guardian of the Gateway, which stood at the entrance to the grounds of Beauly priory for 800 years, but which succumbed to Dutch elm disease and died (The picture here was taken by Isabel McLeish, who organised the commission). The poem that resulted from that (see the text here or the full Beauly celebration here) turned out to be just the start of a re-kindled interest in elms, which were an important feature of my childhood.

I'm delighted to be able to share the news that I have now signed a contract with Wildfire Books (part of Headline) to write a book about elm trees. The book will be global in scope, because elms are found throughout the temperate and subtropical world, on every continent except Africa, and it will be a book not only about their decimation by disease but also about the hope we can gain from their resilience and diversity.

I'll share more information as the project develops, but for now, if you have a story to share about what elm trees mean to you, or some fascinating titbits of knowledge about the tree, please don't hesitate to contact me. I will be fascinated!

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