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Wigtown Book Festival Project


This cover design process has been influenced by my experiences surrounding lockdown. This has translated into focus on the landscape and habit around Wigtown, the broad salty marshlands overlooked by high moorland hills.

Both habits of the curlew who often spends the summer nesting on uplands and returns to the coast in the autumn. Also, the symbolism of the curlew, a lonely bird of bleak places, who nevertheless comes together with their partner to nest, occasionally flocking in small numbers in the autumn and winter.

Even the etymological meaning of name; curlew coming from the old French, Courlieu (a compound of “messenger” and “place”). Their Latin name, Numenius coming from Greek and meaning new moon. A symbol for beginnings and change, new time in our everchanging world.  

Covid-19 has provided us all with a realisation of the amount of harmony, peace, and healing offered to us by nature. While we have all been landlocked to the small spaces around us, there is a romanticism to the freedom of birds, spreading their wings and travelling as they wish – however, they always come back to a nest.

We, as people, have created our own nests, and written our own narratives – finding solace in nature, and in fiction. The imagery of the nest incorporating cut-out poetry is influenced by this; making a home in fiction, as a form of catharsis to cope with the real world around us. There is a safety and a truth to fiction which makes us feel safer, feel felt, and heard. Nests are ever changing, but offer birds comfort, solitude, and safety in a time of vulnerability as a new start emerges – much like ourselves. Fledglings come into their plumage, and fly the nest bravely, into an ever-changing world.

Thank you to Wigtown Book Festival for the opportunity of this exhibition through The University of Edinburgh.

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