in Conversation: A memoir of Poverty, Nature and Resilience.
Natasha Carthew is a Cornish working-class writer who grew up in rural poverty battling limited opportunities, precarious resources, escalating property prices, isolation and a community marked by the ravages of inequality. Her world existed alongside the picture postcard Cornwall, where wealth and privilege converged on sandy beaches and expensive second homes. Writer of ten books spanning fiction, poetry and this her first memoir, she is also the founder of the Nature Writing Prize for Working Class Writers, and Artistic Director of the Working Class Writers Festival, in partnership with Bristol Ideas.
In the rockpools and hedgerows of the natural world, Natasha found solace in the beauty of the landscape, and in the mobile library she found her means of escape. In her first non-fiction book, she returns to the cliff paths of her childhood, determined to make sense of an upbringing shaped by political neglect and a life defined by the beauty of nature. Undercurrent is part memoir, part-investigation, and part love letter to Cornwall.
“There’s a Cornish saying that nothing is left behind in an autumnal tide, the powerful tug between the sun and the equator makes the water surface stronger, and it pulls and builds until we are left with what is known as great tides – but as I stand here on my childhood beach someplace in my 40s, all I can see is the stretch of grey rocks and sand where the ebb has come and gone.”
Undercurrent is a vivid, powerful exploration of rural poverty and the often-devastating impact of living without the means or support to build a future. This is a journey through place and a story of hope, beauty, and fierce resilience.