The Flow: Rivers, Water and Wildness – WINNER OF THE 2023 WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR NATURE WRITING (Hardcover)

The Flow: Rivers, Water and Wildness – WINNER OF THE 2023 WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR NATURE WRITING By Amy-Jane Beer Cover Image
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'A tour de force.' GUY SHRUBSOLE
'Quietly courageous.' PATRICK BARKHAM
'Lyrical, wholehearted and wise.' LEE SCHOFIELD
'A knockout. I loved it.' MELISSA HARRISON
'Honest, raw and moving.' SOPHIE PAVELLE
'An extraordinary book by an extraordinary author.' CHRIS JONES
'A book of wit, wonder and of wisdom.' NICK ACHESON


A visit to the rapid where she lost a cherished friend unexpectedly reignites Amy-Jane Beer's love of rivers setting her on a journey of natural, cultural and emotional discovery.

On New Year's Day 2012, Amy-Jane Beer's beloved friend Kate set out with a group of others to kayak the River Rawthey in Cumbria. Kate never came home, and her death left her devoted family and friends bereft and unmoored.

Returning to visit the Rawthey years later, Amy realises how much she misses the connection to the natural world she always felt when on or close to rivers, and so begins a new phase of exploration.

The Flow is a book about water, and, like water, it meanders, cascades and percolates through many lives, landscapes and stories. From West Country torrents to Levels and Fens, rocky Welsh canyons, the salmon highways of Scotland and the chalk rivers of the Yorkshire Wolds, Amy-Jane follows springs, streams and rivers to explore tributary themes of wildness and wonder, loss and healing, mythology and history, cyclicity and transformation.

Threading together places and voices from across Britain, The Flow is a profound, immersive exploration of our personal and ecological place in nature.

About the Author

Dr Amy-Jane Beer is a biologist turned naturalist and writer. She has worked for more than 20 years as a science writer and editor, contributing to more than 40 books on natural history. She is currently a Country Diarist for The Guardian, a columnist for British Wildlife and a feature writer for BBC Wildlife magazine, among others. She campaigns for the equality of access to nature and collaboration between farming and conservation sectors. She sits on the steering group of the environmental arts charity New Networks for Nature and the land rights campaign, and is honorary President of the national park society Friends of the Dales. Her book The Flow won the 2023 James Cropper Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing.

Praise For…

“A true masterpiece; generous, elegant, acute, tender and furious.” —Charles Foster, Times Literary Supplement

“The perfect commingling of deep research with sparkling observation and quiet eddies of feeling, helmed by a lifelong kayaker, biologist and all-round adventurous soul... small wonder The Flow is such a knockout. I loved it.” —Melissa Harrison, author of All Among the Barley

“A rich mix of history and mythology, of science and nature writing at its very best.” —PD Smith, The Guardian

“Our 2023 Nature Book of the Year winner is regrettably very topical, and every judge absolutely loved the book. The glorious detail and personal experiences, all written in such elegant and beautifully poetic language, was unparalleled.” —Alastair Giles, Director of the James Cropper Wainwright Prize

“A quietly courageous, open-hearted exploration of Britain's becks, bourns and streams.” —Patrick Barkham, author of The Butterfly Isles

“Lyrical, wholehearted and wise, The Flow is a hymn for the rivers of Britain.” —Lee Schofield, author of Wild Fell

“Honest, raw and moving, Amy's prose is as captivating as the rivers she describes. I thought I knew what rivers were, but this stunning book is a powerful reminder of their infinity, their mystery, and their bewildering complexity.” —Sophie Pavelle, author of Forget Me Not

The Flow moves deftly between deeply touching personal experience and carefully-researched erudition. It is a book of wit, of wonder and of wisdom.” —Nick Acheson, naturalist and conservationist

The Flow is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary author.” —Chris Jones, conservationist and farmer

“In a golden age for nature writing, this stunning book is one of the very best.” —Ben Hoare, BBC Countryfile

“A gutsy biologist with webbed feet, Amy-Jane Beer plunges the reader into rivers the length and breadth of Britain. We emerge bathed in wonder and full of fresh understanding.” —Derek Niemann, author of Birds in a Cage

“Part memoir, part celebration of the many rivers and waters of Britain, The Flow is passionately alive – a work of tremendous range and scope by one of our finest writers about the living world.” —Caspar Henderson, author of The Book of Barely Imagined Beings

The Flow is a tour de force: blending crystal-clear prose with mythic poetry and a cascade of lucid facts, washed down with uplifting insights into life, death and the water that sustains us.” —Guy Shrubsole, author of Who Owns England?

“A fascinating travelogue […] Beer's prose has the luminous beauty of poetry, blending personal experience and absorbing research with a sense of awe.” —Hannah Beckerman, The Observer

“Haunted by loss, The Flow is about the urgency of a life, land and love.” —Nicola Chester, author of On Gallows Down

“From the incredibly moving opening scene, to a delightful conclusion, Amy-Jane Beer takes us on a journey on, in and through the waterways of Britain, in sparkling prose. A worthy successor to Roger Deakin's Waterlog.” —Stephen Moss, author of The Robin

The Flow is a wonderful book: as passionate as it is knowledgeable. From Yorkshire Derwent to Dart to Dee via the Zanskar, Amy-Jane Beer really does take us, in her phrase, 'as close as we might ever get to being a river'.” —Mark Wormald, author of The Catch

“With a poet's gift for description, Beer makes her global travels vivid […] She's got an ability to make even a small moment resonate, such as her child's serendipitous discovery of a carnivorous sundew plant, with sharp prose and quick pacing. The result is an aquatic tour de force.” —Publishers Weekly

“Beer's book examines the reverential place rivers hold in our culture and the stories hidden in their depths.” —Joe Shute, The Sunday Telegraph

“A sublime and companionable meditation on nature's processes.” —Charles Foster, Times Literary Supplement

“I have read dozens of books about rivers and The Flow is one of the finest.” —David Profumo, Country Life

“Necessary reading for us all.” —Julie Brominicks, landscape writer, BBC Countryfile

“This erudite book is a joyous combination of science, nature, history, and mythology […] a genuinely moving voyage of discovery of our ecological and personal place in the nature that surrounds us.” —Yorkshire Life

The Flow is an epic memoir that inspires awe for rivers and reveals their dual nature as both boundaries and portals.” —Kristine Morris, Foreword Reviews

“Beer's moving book is about water and landscapes as well as friendship, memory, loss and resilience. It is full of quiet wisdom and passion, and shows us what words can do when the personal and the ecological are blended organically.” —Elif Shafak, New Statesman

“Water courses through biologist Amy-Jane Beer's deep-dive into the lyrical beauty of Britain's rivers.” —Country & Town House

“Simply beautiful.” —Stephen Moss

The Flow is gutsy and profound from the off, with exquisite evocation of place, dives into deep time, moments of humour and surging anger at what we've done to our rivers.” —Ben Hoare, BBC Countryfile

“As with all the best books about nature, The Flow is a marriage of two things: a hard-won knowledge of the subject and a rare ability to write beautifully [...] a warm and immersive book.” —Ian Carter, British Wildlife

“Beautiful book.” —Nicola Chester, RSPB Magazine

Product Details
ISBN: 9781472977397
ISBN-10: 1472977394
Publisher: Bloomsbury Wildlife
Publication Date: October 4th, 2022
Pages: 400
Language: English