Environment Correspondent of The Times and Environment Editor of The Independent
Michael McCarthy

Fergus The Silent has won the 2023 Creative Writing Award of the Association for The Study of Literature and the Environment, the body which represents teachers and scholars of environmental writing and eco-criticism.
The chair of the judges, Richard Kerridge, leader of the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, said:
“This is a wonderful novel.,BR> It combines a passionate and complex and at times disastrously painful love story, with a story about species loss and extinction, of a particularly ingenious and exciting kind.”

Fergus The Silent by Michael McCarthy

In 1983 Fergus Pryng, an idealistic young naturalist, was sent to survey Lanna, remotest of all the Scottish islands, which had never been surveyed before, and discovered there something so remarkable that it would have caused a global sensation – had he disclosed it. But Fergus did not tell the world of his discovery. Instead, he devoted his life to keeping it a secret, for 17 years, sacrificing his career, his marriage and his happiness – until the threat of nearby deep-sea oil development forced the astonishing truth out into the open, with ultimately catastrophic results.

What made Fergus keep his secret, and whether or not he was right to do so, are the questions Michael McCarthy makes central to this extraordinary story, because they go to the heart of one of the key issues of our time – the increasingly tragic nature of the human relationship with the Earth. Fergus The Silent highlights this issue in a particularly acute way, in the story of one singular and solitary individual with an unquenchable love for the natural world, himself a tragic figure whose fate is unforgettable.

Published: November 2021
Hardback: 452 pages
Price: £12.99
ISBN: 9781914424380
Available from Amazon

Michael McCarthy is one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment and the natural world, and has won a string of awards for his work as Environment Correspondent of The Times and Environment Editor of The Independent. As an author he has written Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo (2009) and The Moth Snowstorm – Nature and Joy (2015) both of which were widely praised, with the latter book shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize and the Richard Jefferies Prize.
Most recently he has written (with Jeremy Mynott and Peter Marren) The Consolation of Nature – Spring in the Time of Coronavirus (2020) which was chosen as one of The Guardian’s Nature Books of The Year. This is his first novel..