and the Peregrine

Welcome to my modest website about the wonderful author John Alec Baker (1926 – 1987) who wrote just two books – The Peregrine in 1967 and The Hill of Summer in 1969 - perhaps the best nature books of the twentieth century.

About the Website

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About the Author

Many readers and critics believe The Peregrine and The Hill of Summer are among the best books on nature written in the twentieth century.

On 23 March 2024 an important exhibition Restless Brilliance – The Story of J A Baker and The Peregrine opened at Chelmsford Museum. This is the first time that items from the archive at the University of Essex have been put on public display. It is especially appropriate that it is taking place in Baker’s home town. It is open every day until 3 November and is free. For more information see Resources.

On 18 December 2019, the BBC released a reading of The Peregrine by David Attenborough, the very well known broadcaster and natural historian. It was excellent listening and was available until December 2020 on the BBC website at BBC Radio 4. Information about the reading is still available on the site.

In 2010, both The Peregrine and The Hill of Summer were published in a combined volume by Collins, together with extracts from Baker’s diaries. This edition also includes extensive biographical information about Baker by Mark Cocker and John Fanshawe. A resized edition was published in 2015. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first publication of The Peregrine in 1967, a new edition was published (ISBN 978-0008216214) in 2017. This edition includes a new ‘afterword’ by Robert Macfarlane.

Our understanding of J A Baker has been greatly increased by the publishing in October 2017 of My House of Sky by Hetty Saunders. As well as a very well researched biography, the book includes a selection of his poetry, an introduction by John Fanshawe to, and photographs of, items in the J A Baker Archive at the University of Essex and photographs of locations in Baker Country by Christopher Matthews. My House of Sky is published by Little Toller Books and is a must for anyone with an interest in J A Baker – ISBN 978-1-908213-49-5.

I hope that you find the website of interest and that it helps you to learn more about J A Baker. Please feel free to contact me for more information, my email is david@jabaker.co.uk


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