I am the luckiest man alive, because I get to live and work in the most beautiful place on earth: Matterdale in the English Lake District.
When I was a child we didn't really go anywhere, except a week in the Isle of Man when I was about ten years old, and I never left Britain until I was twenty.
Even now, years later, the best bit of any travelling is coming home.
Bringing us into the world of shepherd's baking competitions, sheep shows and moments out on the fell watching the sheep run away home, James Rebanks interweaves thoughts and reflections on the art of shepherding with his photographs of the valley, people and animals that make up the daily life of the fells. A life lived by the three hundred surviving fell farming families, this is a book of photos and words filled with reverence and love.
Combines excellent photography with more life-writings
[Praise for The Shepherd's Life]: Affectionate, evocative, illuminating. A story of survival - of a flock, a landscape and a disappearing way of life. I love this book
A powerful - and quietly electrifying - meditation... Page by page, he builds what amounts to a 21st-century pastoral manifesto. The book is an unsentimental education, part history of farming in the Lake District, part personal memoir. And yet it still soars... Rebanks's prose is beautifully sure-footed
Rebanks's enthusiasm and talent for poetic writing is infectious... [His] words create not only a gorgeous landscape painting of the Lake District and its inhabitants, human, animal, bird and fish, but also a useful social document... What is most striking about this book is its authenticity; this is the real thing
A wonderfully detailed and candid account of a life that is both individual and typical of this role in rural society... told with perfect pitch, in prose that flows as easily as speech, cleaves hungrily to the particular, and shifts without strain between the workaday and the imaginative
An enlightening, exquisitely written account... I was beguiled by this book, an eloquent love-letter to a cherished way of life
Six Penguin Random House books are in the running to win the prestigious prize, which will be announced in March.