Helen Macdonald biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Helen Macdonald

Helen Macdonald

Helen Macdonald Biography

Helen Macdonald is a writer, poet, illustrator, historian, and naturalist, and an affiliated research scholar at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses. She also worked as a Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge. As a professional falconer, she assisted with the management of raptor research and conservation projects across Eurasia.



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Interview

Helen Macdonald talks about her memoir H is for Hawk, the complicated relationship between instinct and training, dealing with grief, experiencing wilderness and much else.

Julie Goldberg, on behalf of the Creative Writing at The New School and the NBCC, interviewed Helen Macdonal about her book H Is for Hawk(Grove Press), which is among the final five selections in the category of Autobiography for the 2015 NBCC Awards.

Julie Goldberg: Part of the magic of H is for Hawk is how alive your goshawk Mabel becomes—in her body and moods, in her power and playfulness. What was it like to write about her, years later, in such detail?

Helen Macdonald: Writing about her was much easier than writing about my father's death, my family, or myself! I can recall my time with her that year with crystalline clarity. Grief does strange things to the workings of memory. Back then I wanted to assume her rapturous, wordless, hawkish mind, and I tried, as I wrote, to match my style to that imagined subjectivity. Short sentences to capture her world as a series of fleeting, present moments; lyrical passages to suggest the strangeness of the landscape through the eyes of a hawk.  I edited the hell out of most of the prose, but the sections about the hawk — what she was like, how she flew and hunted — they were written fast and hardly edited at all. I'm very sad to say ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Helen Macdonald at BookBrowse
H is for Hawk jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Helen Macdonald but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • David Almond

    David Almond

    David Almond, in his own words:

    I was born in Newcastle and I grew up in a big Catholic family in Felling-on-Tyne. I had four sisters and a brother and lots of relatives in the streets nearby. My dad had been in Burma ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    H is for Hawk

    Try:
    My Dad's A Birdman
    by David Almond

  • Julian Barnes

    Julian Barnes

    Julian Barnes was born in Leicester, England on January 19, 1946. He was educated at the City of London School from 1957 to 1964 and at Magdalen College, Oxford, from which he graduated in modern languages (with honors) in ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    H is for Hawk

    Try:
    Levels of Life
    by Julian Barnes

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