Mark Cocker is a multi-award-winning author of creative non-fiction, a naturalist and a writing tutor. He writes or broadcasts on nature in a variety of national media. He reviews for the New Statesman and the Spectator. In 2023 he began his 35th year as a country diarist for The Guardian and Guardian Weekly and has now written well over 1,000 articles for both papers.
His 13 books, covering works of biography, history, literary criticism and memoir, include Loneliness and Time (1992), Birders: Tales of a Tribe (2001), and Birds Britannica (2005). His environmental history Our Place (Cape, 2018) was shortlisted for the Thwaites Wainwright and the Richard Jefferies Prizes.
The longest and most arduous of his projects, Birds and People (Cape, 2013), was published to international acclaim and was a collaboration with the photographer David Tipling. Between them his last four works have been shortlisted for nine awards. Crow Country was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize (2008) and won the New Angle Prize in 2009, while A Claxton Diary won the East Anglian Book of the Year Award (2019). He publishes his most ambitious book One Midsummer’s Day: Swifts and the Story of Life on Earth (Cape) this June.
He received an honorary Doctorate of Literature from the University of East Anglia (2016), where he has recently placed his archive. He has travelled in more than 50 countries and was awarded a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship (1999) to study birds in magico-medicinal practices in Benin and Cameroon.
He lives in Derbyshire on the street where he was born and is married to the arts professional Mary Muir, from whom he gets many of his best ideas! He has co-founded several environmental organisations, including the Oriental Bird Club and New Networks for Nature, and was on the founding council of the African Bird Club. Between them, the first and last have donated hundreds of thousands of pounds towards action for birds. He currently serves on the committees of two local wildlife groups and in 2022 became honorary patron for Spurn Bird Observatory.
Biography from Mark Cocker’s website.