Category: research

‘Sylvan Cities’ published on 2 May

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My new book, Sylvan Cities, An urban tree guide was published by Atlantic in May 2019.

Sylvan Cities is a potted-journey through our cities’ woody places and a literary hunt for where their wild things are.

Inviting readers on an illustrated journey into the urban forest, it’s both a practical guide to identifying some of the most common trees standing sentry on our street corners, and a lyrical, anecdotal treasure trove of facts and history, culture and leafy lore.

A few reviews:

‘Dulce et utile. (I’m allowed the Latin for “both sweet and useful” here because the botanical science is as sound as the cultural, historical and poetic aspects.) This is a delightful book: clever, pretty, fun and informative – what more can a reader ask for?’
– Sara Maitland, author of Gossip From the Forest

‘Full of gems; a manifesto for green cities. Babbs will turn us all into urban rangers, an unquiet army of neighbourhood watchers.’
– Max Adams, author of Wisdom of Trees

‘A thoroughly enjoyable read, and a beautifully illustrated practical, cultural and historical guide to some of the most common trees in our cities.’
– Tony Kirkham, Head of the Arboretum at Kew Gardens, writing in Gardens Illustrated

‘This assured book reflects on the “quiet colossi” that frame urban life… [It’s] a practical, portable companion for city walkers. Her read-aloud pen portraits on common varieties are a joy.’
Financial Times

Adrift | A Secret Life of London’s Waterways

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My new book – Adrift, A Secret Life of London’s Waterways – is published today by Icon Books. It’s about the people, politics, history and wildlife of London’s canals and rivers, journeying by boat from east to west over the course of a year and taking in the River Lea, Lee Navigation, Limehouse Cut, Regent’s Canal and Grand Union.

Steven Cooper in The Bookseller magazine says: ‘perfect for anyone who enjoys a lazy walk along London’s canals. Babbs is an excellent nature writer, evoking the lives and emotions tied to the water.’

@TheBookBarge says: ‘waterways writing at its finest: the breathtaking, boat-eulogising Adrift.’

Sarah Henshaw in Waterways World magazine says: ‘It’s not just the quality of the writing that singles this out as one of the best waterways books for decades, but its timeliness too.’

Ben McCormick in Caught by the River praises: ‘chapter after chapter of utterly captivating prose’, where Babbs ‘captures the character and features of the ever-changing landscape… with the kind of compelling language that makes such an arduous trip a genuine joy.’

SLOWBOAT says: ‘Adrift is a sensitive and thoughtful polemic, and a clear-sighted eulogy to a nomadic way of life.’

Available now in hardback and as an ebook in all good bookshops, in the real world and online.