Words for the Wild

I’m delighted to host a guest blog today from writers, Amanda Oosthuizen and Louise Taylor, who have recently launched the Words for the Wild project. They want your words for the website and a print anthology and I invited them here to tell us more….


These days it’s difficult to shout about the importance of the wild spaces in our world without coming up against charges of NIMBYism or, perhaps worse, being embraced as anti-immigration Little Englanders, looking up to pickle our “green and pleasant land” in aspic. We like to think we are neither.

Louise Taylor

Rather, we are two writers – Amanda Oosthuizen and Louise Taylor – who love the countryside and value it for what it offers to all of us, wherever we live. Of course, we need houses, and decent ones at that. However, all of us, wherever we live, need wild places. Not only do the trees and other green things that grow there oxygenate our air, they give us somewhere to wander, walk our dogs, ride our bikes, build dens, fly kites, learn to identify a bird by its song, and any one of hundreds of other life-affirming pursuits.

All of this is under threat in the urban area of Eastleigh, in Hampshire. One of its few remaining greenspaces is set to be devastated by an enormous house-building project, supported by the local Council in face of significant opposition, including from many well-known environmental organisations.

The 5,000 or so houses planned will not include any social housing and only 30% are to be affordable housing; in the

Amanda Oosthuizen

main, they will be executive homes, located far from any public transport. Inhabitants will need to use a network of small country lanes to access nearby Winchester and Southampton. Meanwhile, the homes themselves and the large new road that is to be built to feed into those little country lanes will devastate meadows, ancient woodland and parts of the River Itchen. The effects on wildlife are almost unimaginable. So, too, are the effects on human health and happiness.

It is the threat to this beautiful and precious area that has prompted us to set up Words for the Wild. Although we support the campaign against this particular development and will direct any funds generated towards it, we see our website as a space for writers to celebrate and share the wild spaces that are important to them, no matter where they are in the world. With this in mind, we welcome contributions from writers across the world.

We’re looking for poetry, short stories and flash fiction to post on the website and for a forthcoming print anthology. With no particular genre, form or style in mind, we are open to submissions of all kinds. The subject matter does not need to be nature or wild places, although of course it can be; all we are looking for is some acknowledgment of the natural world. Beyond that, we want to be surprised, delighted and transported. We don’t mind if you make us laugh, smile, sigh or even cry as long as you make us feel what you are feeling.

Our website has only been live since the New Year but already we have been thrilled and overwhelmed by the generosity of so many talented writers. However, we would like more! As we say on our website, our plan is to make a stir. We’d love it if as many of you as possible joined us.


Thanks for sharing your story behind the project, Amanda and Louise, and I look forward to reading more of the stories and poems you’re publishing.

If you’d like to get involved you can find out more on the website: http://wordsforthewild.co.uk/

You can also keep up to date with what’s going on through social media: https://www.facebook.com/WordsfortheWild/ and on Twitter @WordsforWild