Jules Pretty

Author of Sea Sagas of the North: Travels and Tales at Warming Waters

Jules Pretty OBE is Professor of Environment and Society and Director of Centre for Public and Policy Engagement, University of Essex. He is a nature writer, scientist and storyteller. His books include The East Country (2017), The Edge of Extinction (2014), This Luminous Coast (2011, 2014), The Earth Only Endures (2007), Agri-Culture (2002) and Regenerating Agriculture (1995).

Host of the Louder Than Words podcast; presenter of the 1999 BBC Radio 4 series Ploughing Eden; contributor to the 2001 BBC TV The Magic Bean, he is Chief & Founding Editor of the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. He received an OBE in 2006 for services to sustainable agriculture and the British Science Association Presidential Medal (Agriculture and Food) in 2015. He is a trustee for WWF-UK and was appointed President of Essex Wildlife Trust in 2019. This Luminous Coast was winner of New Angle Prize for Literature in 2013, and The East Country was winner of the East Anglian book of the year in 2018.

He is a regular invited speaker at conferences and festivals, and to community and conservation groups. He has spoken at book festivals, on national and local radio. Festival appearances include the Hay Festival, Oundle Book Festival, Larne Folklore Society, Aye Write Festival (Glasgow), Chipping Camden festival, Dartington Festival of Words, Essex Book Festival, River Stour Festival, First Light Festival. Radio work includes for BBC Start the Week, The Moral Maze, BBC Five Live, and regional BBC talk shows.

There are shadows on the warming, northern seas. Long ago, refugees fled Doggerland when seas encroached. Now rising seas threaten low-lying shores once again.

Jules Pretty explores moving stories from Iceland, Norway’s Lofoten islands, Denmark, eastern and northern England, Lindisfarne, Shetland, St Kilda and the Faroes. His touching tales weave a rich cultural tapestry from sagas, the heroic cliff rescues of deep-water fishermen by Icelanders, how Vikings and sheep left so few trees, the miraculous escape of Danish Jews to Sweden from Denmark in 1943, the rise of Abbess Hildr of Whitby, the enslaved Grimsby orphan boys and life on Doggerland itself.  He asks, as the fire and flood of Ragnarök seems to loom, how can we live wisely and well with nature and each other?