Shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize for UK Nature Writing Prize 2021
Featherhood is a story about birds and fathers. It is about the young magpie that fell from its nest in a Bermondsey junkyard into Charlie Gilmour’s life – and swiftly changed it.
It is a story about the jackdaw kept at a Cornish stately home by Heathcote Williams, anarchist, poet, magician, stealer of Christmas, and Charlie’s biological father who vanished from his life in the dead of night.
It is a story about repetition across generations and birds that run in the blood; about a terror of repeating the sins of the father and a desire to build a nest of one’s own. It is a story about change – from wild to tame; from sanity to madness; from life to death to birth; from freedom to captivity and back again, via an insane asylum, a prison and a magpie’s nest. And ultimately, it is the story of a love affair between a man and a magpie.