26 Trees

“I think that I shall never see
a poem lovely as a tree”

I remember hearing Paul Robeson singing that song in my childhood and those lines have always stayed in memory. We all have enormous affection for trees but our knowledge of them is often very shallow. When I was writing my novel The Good Messenger, the first part of which is set in woodland, I became acutely aware that I actually knew very little about trees.

My exploration took me to a book called What’s that tree? This made me realise how much more there was to explore, so I arranged a meeting with the Woodland Trust. From that has now come a project 26 Trees which will pair 26 writers with 26 tree species in different parts of the British isles. The Trust will also suggest areas of woodland for you to visit and track down the tree that has been randomly assigned to you. Take a look at https://treecharter.uk/get-involved.html.

So we are looking for writers who would like to take part in what promises to be an exciting project in which 26 will work in partnership with the Woodland Trust. The project will culminate in late November with National Tree Week, but we want to sign up our writers as soon as possible so that you can start thinking, researching and writing. We will send the chosen 26 writers (‘first come’ etc but also with an eye to geographical spread) a full brief when we kick the project off in a few weeks’ time. We will be looking for each writer to produce a sestude (exactly 62 words) inspired by your tree and a background piece of prose about aspects of the tree discovered in your research journeys.

1.         alder

2.         ash

3.         aspen

4.         beech

5.         silver birch

6.         blackthorn

7.         buckthorn

8.         cherry

9.         crab apple

10.       dogwood

11.       elder

12.       elm

13.       guelder rose

14.       hawthorn

15.       hazel

16.       holly

17.       hornbeam

18.       juniper

19.       lime

20.       field maple

21.       oak

22.       pear

23.       scots pine (scotland)

24.       poplar

25.       rowan

26.       wild service

27.       spindle

28.       whitebeam

29.       willow

30.       yew

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