• Slow Medway

    How do we know that we belong somewhere? The river Medway has been part of my life ever since my Dad became the river engineer when I was a year old. I’ve lived on its banks, fallen in love beside it, paddled and swum in it, worked beside it. I’ve felt most alive in it, and I’ve almost drowned in it in a freezing mid-winter weir pool.

    Yet I have never been sure whether I belong on the river. My next book, Slow Medway, is a work of creative non-fiction, following the Medway as I try to work out how places can become bound to our identities, and how we can become alienated from them.

    Thanks to an Arts Council grant I’ve been travelling very slowly down the river Medway from a tiny tributary that rises close to my house in Sussex to the sea off Sheppey.

    As I’ve travelled I’ve been talking to people about what the river means to them. I’ve met lock-keepers, anglers, marina-owners and naturalists. Boaters and kayakers, riverside home-owners, walkers and dreamers have shared their stories. Some love the river unconditionally, many fear for it as it’s degraded by sewage and human interventions, and some fear it as it threatens their homes through flooding.

    It’s going to be a story as old and as young as the river itself, and as twisting and unpredictable too.