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I Belong Here


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Table of Contents

Prologue: A Place Called Hope MOUTH Onwards: A TransPennine Express Journey 1. Speaking Up 2. Bearing Witness SKIN Wanted: A Long Green Trail 3. If Your Nerve Deny You, Go Above Your Nerve 4. You Make Your Own Path as You Walk 5. Walking as a Woman of Colour 6. On Race and Place BACKBONE Malham Cove and Limestone Country 7. Protected Characteristics 8. On Strength, Courage and Trauma 9. Going Viral LIFEBLOOD Upwards: A Pennine Journy 10. Settlements 11. Scars FEET The Way: North Pennines to Hadrian's Wall (via Manchester) 12. Northern Nature 13. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty 14. Forces 15. Walking and Witnessing Epilogue: Up From a Past that's Rooted in Pain Resources Acknowledgements Bibliography Notes Index

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A journey of reclamation through the natural landscapes of the North, exploring identity and womanhood, nature, place and belonging.

About the Author

Anita Sethi was born in Manchester, UK and has been published in anthologies including Common People edited by Kit de Waal and The Seasons nature writing anthology edited by Melissa Harrison. She is forthcoming in Women on Nature edited by Katharine Norbury. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian and Observer, Sunday Times, Telegraph, New Statesman, Times Literary Supplement and BBC Wildlife, and broadcasting credits include BBC Radio 4’s Open Book, Front Row and Today programmes, and Sky News. She has judged the British Book Awards, Society of Authors Awards and Costa Book Awards. www.anitasethi.com / @anitasethi


For anyone who has ever felt out of place, I Belong Here is a moving and comforting read. For everyone else, it is an education. Punchier and more political than most nature writing, this book is a thing of beauty.
*Sunday Times*

Nature’s beauty and wilderness provide a welcome escape from Sethi’s city life and kickstart a healing process as she becomes enveloped in the great outdoors, taking us on an emotional journey at the same time. It’s an amazing odyssey: inspiring, powerful, encouraging and incredibly brave.

Forever asked where she’s from originally, Sethi writes that she has always felt like an ‘outsider’. Instead, this passionate and reflective book stakes her claim to the English countryside and nature writing itself.
*New Statesman*

A heartfelt examination of identity and place ... it is the way Sethi's connection to nature is refracted through her experience as a woman of colour that gives the book its rare power.

Restored and enlivened by the wonders of nature, Anita Sethi finds the courage to embrace her vulnerabilities and strengths and to claim her place in the world. A brave and life-affirming book.’
*Sunday Express*

An unforgettable journey … the genius of the author is how she takes the narrative of hatred and discrimination hurled at her and turns it upside down by ‘going back to where she is from’ – the landscapes of the north. Not only deeply moving but also quietly transformative.
*The Observer*

Excellent...A powerful memoir about nature and belonging and racism and Britishness, as Anita Sethi undertakes a journey to reclaim her space in Britain following a terrifying hate crime on public transport. A brilliant writer.
*Nikesh Shukla, author of 'Brown Baby'*

Anita Sethi invites her reader to walk, not just at her side, but in her shoes, and to feel for themselves both the exhilaration and the chagrin of travelling the backbone of her home country as a woman of colour. By turns joyous and humbling, I Belong Here is an urgent and necessary addition to the canon of contemporary writing about place in the island of Britain.
*Katharine Norbury, editor of 'Women on Nature' and author of 'The Fish Ladder'*

In gorgeous prose that rolls along like the uplands, Anita Sethi opens our eyes to the beauty of our countryside and the hurt and healing found therein. It is rare to find writing that evokes landscape so finely but also conveys our inner world with such power, emotion, vulnerability and truth. I Belong Here deserves its place alongside the Macfarlanes and Macdonalds as a classic of modern British nature writing.
*Patrick Barkham, author of Wild Child*

Manchester-born Sethi achieves a powerful blend of memoir, travelogue and natural history as she reflects on nature, place and belonging; and at its beating heart, her book is a stirring love letter to this troubled country of ours. I find it so moving that such a beautifully written, hate-defying book has been born from such a horrific experience. I Belong Here is a shining example of how books, at their best, can be an act of resistance and a communal force for good.
*The Bookseller Book of the Month, Editor’s Choice review*

A brilliantly accomplished mix of powerful memoir and revelatory nature writing, Sethi’s account of finding solace in the Northern countryside following a traumatic racial attack is a defiant act of reclamation and an astonishing piece of testimony.

A powerful and moving memoir
*BBC Countryfile Magazine*

Incredibly powerful, moving and beautifully told. Full of wild magic. This book will make the world a better place.
*Lucy Jones, author of 'Losing Eden'*

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