James Rebanks – The Shepherd’s Life

James Rebanks’ new book The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District, published tomorrow, has been causing a stir in the literary world. A traditional Lakeland shepherd, Rebanks’ book is a moving and deeply relevant portrayal or what it is to live life in communion with the land, to shape and steward one of the world’s most iconic landscapes using traditional methods and ideologies.

James Rebanks with his Herdwick sheep, image c/o http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

This landscape could not exist in all its idyllic beauty without people such as Rebanks. The landscape of the Lake District has been shaped by shepherds for hundreds of years and for rebanks, coming from a family who have farmed in the area for six centuries, this is his birthright.

Rebanks’ book both paints a moving portrait of the life of a contemporary shepherd living and working in the Lake District, and meditates upon the prejudices he encounters in reactions to his chosen career. The assumption that he is somehow ‘wasting’ his Oxford education in choosing to follow in the footsteps of his forefathers is a view he has to contend with often, and one that he is keen to refute.

photo c/o James Rebanks’ twitter https://twitter.com/herdyshepherd1

Rebanks’ prose has been lauded as evocative and lucid, sitting comfortably in the grand tradition of British nature writing. It is an account of a modern man whose life is dedicated to maintaining a connection with his native land in a world which typically devalues such an undertaking. It is an enriching and informative read for anyone with an interest in the Lake District.

Follow James on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/herdyshepherd1/

Read an extract from the book here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/11475493/Could-you-handle-life-as-a-modern-day-shepherd.html

Read an interesting article about James here: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/27/james-rebanks-twitters-favourite-shepherd