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LOCAL>> Kerri ní Dochartaigh – Thin Places: A Natural History of Healing and Home
Irish nature writer discusses her debut book: a memoir of the Troubles and nature’s healing role
Kerri ní Dochartaigh joins us for a conversation about Thin Places (Milkweed Editions), her powerful memoir of growing up in Derry during the Troubles and the solace provided by the natural world. Kerri will be joined in conversation by Catherine Raven, author of the NY Times bestselling book, Fox & I: An Uncommon Friendship (Spiegel & Grau).
This event is presented in partnership with the Point Reyes National Seashore Association. All ticket sales will benefit PRNSA’s Youth In Parks program that welcomes youth to the park from communities that have historically been excluded from public lands.
“A remarkable piece of writing. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book as open-hearted as this. It resists easy pieties of nature as a healing force, but nevertheless charts a recovery which could never have been achieved without landscape, wild creatures and “thin places”. It is also flocked with luminous details (moths, birds, feathers, skulls, moving water). Kerri’s voice is utterly her own, rich and strange. I’ve folded down the corners of many pages, marking sentences and moments that glitter out at me. Wow.” — Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland
This event will be streamed on our Crowdcast channel.
Both a celebration of the natural world and a memoir of one family’s experience during the Troubles, Thin Places is a gorgeous braid of “two strands, one wondrous and elemental, the other violent and unsettling, sustained by vividly descriptive prose” (The Guardian).
Kerri ní Dochartaigh was born in Derry, on the border of the North and South of Ireland, at the very height of the Troubles. She was brought up on a council estate on the wrong side of town—although for her family, and many others, there was no right side.
One parent was Catholic, the other was Protestant. In the space of one year, they were forced out of two homes. When she was eleven, a homemade bomb was thrown through her bedroom window. Terror was in the very fabric of the city, and for families like ní Dochartaigh’s, the ones who fell between the cracks of identity, it seemed there was no escape.
In Thin Places, a luminous blend of memoir, history, and nature writing, ní Dochartaigh explores how nature kept her sane and helped her heal, how violence and poverty are never more than a stone’s throw from beauty and hope, and how we are, once again, allowing our borders to become hard and terror to creep back in.
Ní Dochartaigh asks us to reclaim our landscape through language and study, and remember that the land we fight over is much more than lines on a map. It will always be ours, but—at the same time—it never really was.
Kerri ní Dochartaigh is the author of Thin Places. She has written for The Guardian, the Irish Times, the BBC, Winter Papers, and others.
Catherine Raven is the author of the New York Times bestseller Fox & I: An Uncommon Friendship. She is a former national park ranger at Glacier, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Voyageurs, and Yellowstone National Parks. She earned her Ph.D. in biology from Montana State University, holds degrees in zoology and botany from the University of Montana, and is a member of American Mensa and Sigma Xi. Her natural history essays have appeared in American Scientist, Journal of American Mensa, and Montana Magazine. You can find her in Fox’s valley tugging tumbleweeds from the sloughs.