Field Notes From a Hidden City | Granta

  • Published: 07/03/2013
  • ISBN: 9781847087577
  • Granta Books
  • 368 pages

Field Notes From a Hidden City

Esther Woolfson

Against the background of austere and beautiful Aberdeen, Woolfson observes the seasons, the streets and the quiet places of her city over the course of a year. She considers the geographic, atmospheric and environmental elements which bring diverse life forms together in close proximity, and in absorbing prose writes of the animals among us: the birds, the rats and squirrels, the spiders and the insects. Her close examination of the natural world leads her to question our prevailing attitudes to urban and non-urban wildlife, and to look again at the values we place on the lives of individual species.

This is a beautiful book, a meditation and an investigation, a contemplation of our uncaring attitude to wild animals. Part autobiography, it is shot through with the solitude and wisdom of older age, as Woolfson pursues her scientific studies alone

Mike Wade, The Times

Woolfson turns her beady eye to the muddled and fascinating ecology of her hometown of Aberdeen... It can only be hoped that books like this play a part in making us both notice and value the lovely creatures we stand to lose, before the wild portions of our cities have been entirely swept and tidied and paved out of existence

Olivia Laing, Observer

An illuminating, humane and informative companion in the great tradition of the finest nature writing

Catherine Lockerbie, Scotland on Sunday

The Author

Esther Woolfson grew up in Glasgow and studied Chinese at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Edinburgh University. Her acclaimed short stories have appeared in many anthologies and have been read on Radio 4. She is the author of Corvus: A Life with Birds, published by Granta Books. She has won prizes for both her stories and her nature writing. She has been the recipient of a Scottish Arts Council Travel Grant and a Writer’s Bursary. Her latest book, Field Notes from a Hidden City (Granta Books), was shortlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize for Nature and Travel Writing. She lives in Aberdeen.

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From the Same Author

Esther Woolfson on

Essays & Memoir | Granta 151

Between Light and Storm

Esther Woolfson

‘We’ve always been entwined in life and in death with other creatures, although often too much time has elapsed to be able to interpret with any certainty what some of these symbols and artefacts mean.’

Essays & Memoir | Granta 142


Esther Woolfson

‘His life was one of calculation and endeavour, of learning and watching, remembering and trying.’