A scene from a Finnish forest – the furthest flung place I travelled while reporting for Nature's Ghosts.

I have written a book!

My secret is out. Nature's Ghosts will be published in May.

Sophie Yeo
Sophie Yeo

In 2020, a few months after I set up Inkcap Journal, I signed a contract to write a book.

It has involved more than three years of research and writing, which I have largely carried out in secret. But the secret is finally out!

Nature's Ghosts: The World we Lost and How to Bring it Back is coming out on 23 May 2024. It is being published by HarperNorth and was announced in the Bookseller today. Given how entwined it has been with my work here, I hope you will allow me to tell you a little more about it.

Firstly, the cover: isn't it striking?

Nature's Ghosts is about the history of the natural world, and how such knowledge can inform landscape restoration today. I began with a question that often divides ecologists: to what extent should we attempt to re-create the past?

The notion of rewinding nature to a former state evokes strong emotions and elicits fierce debate. I wanted to move past binary attitudes of backwards or forwards, and explore the lessons that can be gleaned from times gone by.

There has been so much study of past environments, much of it ignored or misrepresented. This is my attempt to lay it all out and tie it all together. Nature's Ghosts is a book about megafauna, wildwood, extinction and bones. But it is also about meadows, ponds, poetry, religion and myth. It is about vast and abundant ecosystems that we can only imagine today. It is about people. It is about the future.

Writing this book was an intense process. I read hundreds of books and papers (a surprising number of which were in Danish – thanks, Google translate) and travelled around Britain and further afield to speak to those working to create a wilder world. I spoke to archaeologists, palaeoecologists, conservationists and others. I had a baby in the middle of it all, which didn't help. I am now very tired and my house is extremely messy, but I think it was worth it. In my opinion, it is a story that needs to be told.

If any of this sounds interesting, and like something you might like to read, I would be overjoyed and very grateful if you could pre-order – it is already up on Amazon and Bookshop. Even if it sits gathering dust on your bedside table for a year – I am told that pre-orders are very important.

Thanks for indulging me! Inkcap Journal will be back in your inboxes on Wednesday, with a longread from Adam Weymouth, which I am extremely excited to share.

Sophie Yeo
Editor of Inkcap Journal

Sophie Yeo

Sophie Yeo is a writer based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She is the founder and editor of Inkcap Journal.


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