Tag Archives: H is for Hawk

YWTB! Helen Macdonald


Hello and welcome back to You Wrote the Book, with Simon Savidge. Each fortnight Simon is joined by a special guest author to discuss their life as a writer and as a reader.

After a small hiatus Simon is back and his guest for this episode is the Helen Macdonald. Unless you have been on another planet it is unlikely you will have missed Helen’s mash up of memoir, ode to her father, nature writing and part biography of T.H. White, H is for Hawk which has won both the Samuel Johnson Prize for non fiction as well as the Costa Book of the Year

As a child, Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer, learning the arcane terminology and reading all the classic books. Years later, when her father died and she was struck deeply by grief, she became obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She bought Mabel for £800 on a Scottish quayside and took her home to Cambridge, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals. H is for Hawk is an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald’s struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk’s taming and her own untaming. This is a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to reconcile death with life and love.

Simon had the pleasure of chatting to Helen in a cafe in Liverpool a few weeks ago, so excuse the background noise, where they discussed the phenomenon of H is for Hawk, how she went about writing it, what it was like to put her life so out in the public eye and much more…

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Over the next few weeks Simon will be joined by Ruth Ware Paul McVeigh, Joanna Cannon and Michel Faber.  If you have any questions for the authors, would like to suggest authors you think Simon should be getting on the show, or simply want to have a natter about books, you can email youwrotethebook@gmail.com or find us on twitter @youwrotethebook.

If you want to hear Simon talking more books do join him every other week with Thomas Otto on The Readers Podcast, you can also find him chatting and reviewing book on his blog Savidge Reads. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes where you can find previous episodes with Rose Tremain, Christos Tsiolkas, Evie Wyld, Armistead Maupin, David Nicholls, Hanya Yanagihara, Richard Flanagan, Jessie Burton, Emily St John Mandel and many more.