Saturday, 25 May 2019

Bird Cottage by Eva Meijer

I was intrigued by this remarkable story that the author, Eva Meijer, dug up a few years ago about one fascinating – and almost entirely forgotten – a woman who was way ahead of her time when she published her revolutionary findings on bird behaviour. I wanted to help us spread the word about her! 

Len Howard, the mysterious woman behind the once bestselling Birds as Individuals and Living With Birds, was a promising violinist before she decided to ditch society and city life in order to dedicate herself to her one life-long passion – birds. Leaving London behind, she bought what is now known as Bird Cottage, a small property in East Sussex where she led a very private life, observing the curious habits of the garden birds nearby and quietly working on her research until her death in 1973.

Eva Meijer draws such a tender and convincing portrait of this eccentric recluse of British nature writing that it’s impossible not to be infected with her passion for birds! What emerges is a complex character, a restless and passionate woman that could not be pinned down by society and who continued her work regardless of the prejudice against female scientists. This is an emotionally rich and measured literary debut that brings Len Howard back to life and sheds some light on her woefully neglected research. It is being published on 30th May 2019 and I wanted to help bring the life and work of Len Howard to others!


By Eva Meijer

Translated by Antoinette Fawcett

ISBN 9781782273950 | £8.99 | 256pp


Published 30th May 2019

The beautiful and inspiring story of one woman’s remarkable relationship with British garden birds, and how it changed her life

'I tend my herd and flock by day so I have to read into the night; I cannot put it down' - Rosamund Young, bestselling author of The Secret Life of Cows

‘A convincing account of total dedication and self-belief, and there are beauty and joy in Len's strange life... entertaining and thought-provoking’ - Guardian

‘Truly original... There's a sense of birdlike lightness and agility about this episodic, elliptical novel’ - Daily Mail

‘The author's fluid, seemingly weightless prose is perfectly matched to the birds she describes... This beautiful creation will be a source of great pleasure for birders and readers alike’ - Country Life

‘A delightful, poignant tale’ - Saga Magazine

‘A celebration of a life spent immersed in nature’ - Town & Country

Bewitching... will make you want to throw away your Oyster card and move to a remote cottage... Read it to de-stress - The Lady 

Len Howard at her cottage in Ditchling 

Len Howard was forty years old when she decided to leave her London life and loves behind, retire to the English countryside and devote the rest of her days to her one true passion, birds.

Moving to a small cottage in Sussex, she wrote two bestselling books, astonishing the world with her observations on the tits, robins, sparrows and other birds that lived nearby, flew freely in and out of her windows, and would even perch on her shoulder as she typed.

This moving novel imagines the story of this remarkable woman's decision to defy society's expectations, and the joy she drew from her extraordinary relationship with the natural world.


Eva Meijer is a Dutch author, artist, singer, songwriter and philosopher. Her non-fiction study on Animal Communication, Animal Languages, is forthcoming in English in 2019. Bird Cottage is her first novel to be translated into English, has been nominated for the BNG and Libris prizes in the Netherlands and is being translated into several languages. Eva Meijer was awarded the Halewijn Prize in 2017 for all the books she has written so far.

About the Author

 Young environmentalist and birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig
Copyright Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig 

Mya-Rose Craig is a 17-year-old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes posts about birding, conservation and environmental issues from around the world. 

She has been involved in the UK organisation of the Youth Strikes encouraging young people from around the world to not go to school once a month and protest instead demanding immediate action to prevent climate breakdown. This is an interview in New Statesman.

She was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer-songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people

She organised four nature is helping to run four more in 2019. She also organised a conference, Race Equality in Nature, in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature and plans two more in 2019. She has also set up Black2Nature with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of Visible Minority Ethnic people and is President. Please connect with her on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) so that she can invite you to join the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group and be part of the change. 

She has given over 50 talks, speaking at conferences such as being on a panel with George Monbiot and Caroline Lucas on Sustainability and the Future of Cities. She is a Minister in Chris Packham's Manifesto for Nature in 2018 and spoke in front of 10,000 people at the Walk for Nature. She has also appeared on TV and radio and is particularly proud of being in Silent Roars, a short film which was part of Listen to Britain 2017

She has been awarded the Bath and West Show Environmental Youth Award 2017 for Bristol for her Black2Nature work EYA 2017. She was also listed as one of Bristol's BME top 100 powerlist.

She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent. She became the youngest person to see 5000 birds in 2019 age 16 and is looking forward to visiting Brazil birding in 2019 and hopes to see half the birds in the world there. Please also like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter. If you would like to contact Mya-Rose about her work, please e-mail

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