Nature Writing & Creativity: M. Cannon, L. Parikian & C. McKinney

Date Sunday 09 June 2024
Time 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
PricePay What You Decide - Recommended Price £12.50

with Mary Montague

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Nature Writing & Creativity: M. Cannon, L. Parikian & C. McKinney


Join Moya Cannon, Lev Parikian, Conor McKinney and Mary Montague for a discussion on Nature writing and creativity. 

Historically, “nature writing” has been considered a form of escapism, the avoidance of harsher realities that entails withdrawal from human society. Today, in the light of the climate and biodiversity crises, traditional nature writing is challenged by “eco-writing”. 

Rather than placing the writer outside the natural world, eco-writing insists that humans are not separate from nature; and that both contact with, and writing about nature can be a radical and restorative act that fuels our creativity. 

This conversation between writers and scientists (and those who are both) will be a vital one to re-energise our sense of connection with the natural world and the importance of writing about it to make sense of the times and give heart to our lives.


Moya Cannon is an Irish poet, born in Co. Donegal and now living in Dublin. Her Collected Poems was published in 2021 by Carcanet Press, Manchester, and her seventh collection, Bunting’s Honey, is forthcoming from Carcanet Press in 2025. She has been a recipient of the Brendan Behan Award and the O’Shaughnessy Award, was 2011 Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Villanova, and is a member of Áosdána. She has read her poetry at festivals and universities in the Americas, North and South, in China, Japan and in many European countries.  Selections of her poetry have been published in Spanish, German and Portuguese. In her poems, history, archaeology, geology and prehistoric art serve as entry-points to an exploration of our relationship with our endangered natural world and with our past. She has a deep interest in music, particularly Irish traditional music, and often gives readings with musicians.

Lev Parikian is a writer, birdwatcher and conductor. He is the author of Into the Tangled Bank, longlisted for the Wainwright Prize, Light Rains Sometimes Fall and Why do Birds Suddenly Disappear?. He was born and grew up in Oxfordshire and now lives in South London with his family, who are getting used to his increasing enthusiasm for nature. As a birdwatcher, his most prized sightings are a golden oriole in the Alpujarras and a black redstart at Dungeness Power Station. Lev was the instigator of the popular Twitter Birdsong Project – a day-by-day guide designed to help beginners unravel the mysteries of birdsong. 

Conor McKinney is a passionate local conservationist based in Belfast with over 20 years experience working to protect wildlife. During this time he has worked to protect a range of endangered species and habitats, even spending a year on a remote uninhabited island called St Kilda. He is also a broadcaster and has recently appeared on Radio 4 programmes Rare Earth and Costing the Earth, and is a founding member and Chair of community conservation group Wild Belfast who are spearheading the Safari in the City programme funded through Belfast 2024 by Belfast City Council.

Mary Montague is a poet and nature writer. Her poetry collections are Tribe (Dedalus 2008) and Black Wolf on a White Plain (Summer Palace 2001). She has been published in numerous journals, nationally and internationally, has been widely anthologised, most recently in Queering the Green (Lifeboat Press 2021) and The Book of Life (Dedalus Press 2022). Her work has also been translated into French, Italian, Russian and German. She contributes to The Guardian’s Country Diary, and her work features in the  forthcoming Best of the Country Diary (Faber and Faber 2024). She received a 2023 Support for the Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and is currently working on a collection of essays. 

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