J A Baker & 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. I hope that you find the website of interest and that it helps you to learn more about him. Please feel free to contact me for more information. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
On 18 December 2019, the BBC released a reading of The Peregrine by David Attenborough, the very well known broadcaster and natural historian. It is excellent to listen to and is available until December 2020 on the BBC website at BBC Radio 4.
In January 2018, The Peregrine was selected as one of 10 books to be voted on by the public to find the UK’s favourite all-time book about nature. It was selected by a panel set up by the Arts and Humanities Research Council see the AHRC website. Unfortunately, The Peregrine failed to make the top three which was headed by Chris Packham’s Fingers in the Sparkle Jar. An article about the result is on the AHRC website.
Many readers and critics believe that they are among the best books on nature written in the twentieth century.
This website seeks to provide:
- a brief biography of J A Baker
- a study of Baker’s books and other writings
- information about the Baker Archive at the University of Essex
- a selection of critical comments about Baker’s books
- a look at the peregrine, a super bird!
- hints on how you can study nature in your local area, just as Baker did around Chelmsford
- suggestions for walks in Baker Country
- a gallery of the places and birds associated with Baker and his books
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