Welcome to Richard Mabey’s official website


The Cabaret of Plants – Botany and the Imagination.buy The Cabaret of Plants Online

I’ve been a writer and broadcaster for more than 40 years, usually taking a cultural perspective on the natural world. This means my writing has ventured also into art, music, food and biography. This website introduces some of my books, journalism and recent films, and has a few words about me.

My most recent book The Cabaret of Plants: Botany and the Imagination (Profile) was published in October 2015. Its chief theme was the idea of plants as independent organisms, with a value not dependent of their usefulness to us. It was an exciting book to work on, but exhausting, and 2016 will be something of a sabbatical year. But I’m increasingly drawn to the idea of nature celebrated in Cabaret – a parallel world connected to us by common ancestry and present neighbourliness, but also autonomous, and not to be judged just by how it serves or helps us. I’d like to explore this idea at a very personal level, at how it is changing the way I perceive the outside world, and how, in turn, new perceptions change my relationship with it. We have a boat on the Norfolk Broads, which acts as a refuge, look-out, mobile enclosure. It has a will and perspective of its own, and is a participant in this exploration. The buffer of its hull is a corrective to that easy assumption that what lies beyond belongs to us.

Some events in 2016:

The Cabaret of Plants, US edition, published by Norton, Jan 11.
Margaret Atwood tweeted : “LOVE Richard Mabey’s books”

Writer in Residence at the Alde Valley Spring Festival, Great Glemham, Suffolk, May 2 to 8

Chelsea Physic Garden, talk for ‘Captivating Scent’ season, July 28

The Cabaret of Plants (hdk. pub. UK Oct 2015) paperback due from Profile in the autumn.

Also in the autumn: the 20th anniversary of first publication of Flora Britannica (see Books). Still in print!

Re-available at last, on video link, Richard Mabey’s very first film for BBC TV: The Unofficial Countryside See Books for the text on which this is based and Archives for other videos on this theme.