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Episode 19: Tim Pears’s West Country

Tim Pears, a writer rooted in the landscape of Devon, takes Slightly Foxed to the West Country. From working at his local library and reading an author a week instead of taking his A Levels to winning the Hawthornden Prize for his first novel, by way of spells as a farm labourer, nursing assistant and night porter, Tim Pears has written eleven novels, watched blacksmiths at work, walked the routes of his characters, balanced research with imagination and chronicled the past as a realist rather than a romantic. We also travel through the magazine’s archives, along the rivers Taw and Torridge, to uncover the man behind Tarka the Otter, and there are the usual recommendations for reading off the beaten track.

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Show Notes

Please find links to books, articles, and further reading listed below. The digits in brackets following each listing refer to the minute and second they are mentioned. (Episode duration: 41 minutes; 29 seconds)

Books Mentioned

We may be able to get hold of second-hand copies of the out-of-print titles listed below. Please get in touch with Anna in the Slightly Foxed office for more information.

Books by Tim Pears

In the Place of Fallen Leaves (5:18) 

– In the Light of Morning is out of print (13:22)

– The West Country Trilogy: The Horseman, The Wanderers and The Redeemed (14:14)

Other Books

Slightly Foxed Issue 66 (1:23)

Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalusia, Penelope Chetwode (1:29)

The Past Is Myself, Christabel Bielenberg: Plain Foxed Edition (1:50)

The Empress of Ireland, Christopher Robbins: Slightly Foxed Edition No. 51 (2:00)

Tarka the Otter, Henry Williamson (27:15) 

Omer Pasha Latas: Marshal to the Sultan, Ivo Andrić (34:14)

– Lolly Willowes, Sylvia Townsend Warner is out of print (36:14)

Related Slightly Foxed Articles

Tarka the Rotter, Jonathan Law on Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter in Issue 35 (27:15)

Surprised by Joy, Jonathan Law on The Diaries of Sylvia Townsend Warner in Issue 48 (36:14)

Other Links

– Sign up to the free Slightly Foxed email newsletter here to receive articles from the quarterly, extracts from books, latest releases, event invitations, news from behind the scenes at SF and other bookish content several times a month. View past newsletters

– Tim Pears: A writer and his dog (25:21)

Opening music: Preludio from Violin Partita No.3 in E Major by Bach
The Slightly Foxed Podcast is hosted by Philippa Lamb and produced by Podcastable

Comments & Reviews

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  1. Tom Raw says:

    My grandfather was dropped into occupied Yugoslavia too, to support the royalists. When Churchill made the switch to the communist partisans, he had to sit the rest of the war out hiding from both the Germans and the communists, as he was by then too tarnished with royalist association for their liking. At one point he buried the belt of gold sovereigns he’d been issued in order to avoid them falling into enemy hands, but never had the chance to retrieve them. Probably still there somewhere . . . I will have to track down a copy of In the Light of the Morning, would be nice to have sense of that time and place.

  2. Maureen Bebb says:

    Well having come to the podcast rather late on (no sound on my laptop rather hampered me) I have now completed my restrained SF podcast binge, one every day or so, and have so enjoyed them. A lovely way to pass part of an afternoon or evening with a cup of tea or glass of wine. I think the one I have most enjoyed was the one with Margaret Drabble – such a good insight in a writer’s mind. Keep up the good work!

    And another thing – the design for the new mug. Why not use the holed-up fox – it would look very good on a mug. I’d buy it!

    Regards, Maureen

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