Rowena Gerrett: Women and Nature Book Club
We asked Rowena Gerrett, founder of the online Women and Nature book club to tell us more about how it started and what they've loved reading so far.
Thank you to Heather and everyone at Westwood Books for the opportunity to greet your readers this month. My name’s Rowena and I run the Women and Nature book club, as part of my work as a facilitator and coach, and of course an avid reader and lover of nature!
Why have we created this book club?
As someone who enjoys reading books of many different genres, I decided to create a book club with this focus for a few reasons. My passion is supporting people to connect more fully with themselves and with nature; my learning has come in large part through experience and in part through reading. Engagement in nature and adventure remains an arena dominated by white males, and I’m passionate about supporting women, and people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences to build confidence and experiences in this kind of engagement. We’re experiencing a renaissance in books with this theme, some of them completely wonderful, yet I couldn’t see many book clubs with this theme, so I decided to start one!
What have we loved reading?
One of our first books was The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. I am in love with this glorious book, ‘an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world’, and know many who are. Having walked a large chunk of the path myself, though in very different circumstances, I have a visceral response when reading this wonderful book. I’m VERY excited to tell you that Raynor will be joining us again in November to discuss her new book, The Wild Silence, which came out at the start of September.
One of the wonderful non-fiction books we’ve read in book club and I would highly recommend is Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild by Lucy Jones. This is a fantastic exploration and synthesis of research and projects that affirm the positive impact of nature on our mental health.
Wild Woman Swimming by Lynne Roper was a special book for many of our book club members. Published posthumously after her early death due to cancer, this book details her many swims in both fresh and sea water and the profound effects it had upon her. Reading this book led directly to one of our book club members starting to wild swim. Recovering from an abusive relationship, her swimming experiences have helped her re-build her confidence and love of self. How truly wonderful.
So, why join us?
Our book club is in part about the book: it’s also largely about creating a welcoming, uplifting community that people can step into each month to discuss not only how they found the book, but what it made them feel, any actions it spurred them onto, and wider discussion around what nature and adventures within it mean to them in their lives. People find it ‘inclusive, relaxed and friendly’, ‘feel that the club is somewhere you can be truly honest’ and come away feeling ‘uplifted’!
What have we got coming up?
September: Wanderland by Jini Reddy (who will be with us for discussion)
October: The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity and the Natural World Edited by Alison Hawthorne Deming and Lauret E. Savoy.
November: The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn (who will be with us)
December: Wild by Cheryl Strayed
How to get involved:
So many of our members return time and again!
Find out more and book your tickets here: www.rowantree.uk.com/book-club
Follow us on instagram at: @womenandnaturebookclub
Any questions, please do get in touch here: firstname.lastname@example.org