What an autumn for West Seattle authors! This week, Gatewood nature writer Lyanda Lynn Haupt‘s fourth book “The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild” hit the market – a topic very close to our hearts here at WSB, and to our pixels, since we publish photos of and stories about urban wildlife so often.
You might recall Lyanda’s 2009 book “Crow Planet,” or you might have read one or more of her previous books. With “The Urban Bestiary,” she goes wider, and wilder, into the world of who and what we encounter outside our homes (and sometimes inside, as happened while she was working on the book). Her publicist describes it as “a field guide of sorts infused with popular mythology, surprising facts, and anecdotes from her life … Lyanda discusses urban creatures — squirrels, rats, birds — as well as some more suburban dwellers, such as raccoons and coyotes.”
Announcing the then-impending book back in May, Lyanda wrote:
It is my passionate belief that daily connection with the natural, wild world matters. It makes us more creative, responsive, responsible, imaginative, wild, and happy inhabitants of our home communities. It also allows these communities – made up of humans and myriad other animals—to flourish. The Urban Bestiary is a song — a symphony, really — in support of this belief.
We asked her for a comment on the book’s West Seattle roots, aside from the fact she lives here and wrote it here; the WSB mention refers to a conversation she had with your editor here as part of her research:
Though this book has a national audience, it was born in West Seattle. I decided to write as much of this book as I could outdoors, and much of the work was done in my backyard in a neighborhood above Lincoln Park. Since I started work in autumn, this involved fires in a backyard fire bowl (which meant, alas, s’mores for lunch), hats, fingerless gloves, and even umbrellas. The Urban Bestiary was shaped by this unusual writing studio, and this gorgeous, unique place (where) we live.
Tracy Record at the West Seattle Blog helped me to flesh out my ideas about the relationship between social media and wildlife perceptions — thank you, WSB, for being a voice of calm and wisdom on these subjects!
I hope everyone will join me at my official book launch at Elliott Bay Book Company on Wednesday, September 25th at 7 pm. Bring everyone. There will be cake!
And urban-wildlife photos from an online contest she conducted; read more about the launch event on her website. If you haven’t been to Elliott Bay lately, remember that it is now on Capitol Hill, 1521 10th Avenue (map).
P.S. Looking way ahead, Lyanda is on the stellar lineup of local authors booked for the new “Words, Wine, & West Seattle” series of monthly readings to be presented by South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) and the Southwest Seattle Historical Society; her appearance is set for February 7th, 2014 – details are in the official announcement.