Languages and Literature, University of Leicester
In the past ten years, British nature writing has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity through the works of Robert Macfarlane, Roger Deakin and others. The emergence of ‘The New Nature Writing’, a term coined in Granta’s 2008 collection of the same name, has led to an explosion of botanical, geological and ornithological writing, as well as a wealth of new environmental fiction. These genres continue to grow side-by-side with rising ecological activism, where nature writing’s conservationist principles overlap with a drive to study, represent and protect the natural world.
However, principles of ecological conservation have also led to the resurgence of another environmentalist phenomenon, that of ‘far-right ecologism’ (FRE). Far-right ecologism reframes conservationism as a political battleground fought on issues of globalism, isolationism and ethno-cultural purity. Its resurgence has been fuelled both by populist right-wing groups and by the same radical online communities with which twenty-eight year old Brenton Tarrant shared his FRE manifesto ‘The Great Replacement’ before murdering fifty-one people in Christchurch, New Zealand. Closer to the home, the aesthetics of the English landscape continue to be politicised by far-right groups such as The Patriotic Alternative, who in July 2020 unfurled a giant White Lives Matter banner at the summit of Mam Tor (Peak District) in protest against the National Trust. It is the literary roots of this particular form of environmental radicalism that my creative and critical work will explore and challenge.
Full publication and awards history available at: https://joebedford.co.uk/about/