Joanna Pocock

Add to shortlist

Photograph: Dinah Wood



Joanna Pocock is an award-winning author of both fiction and non-fiction. In 2018, she won the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize for SURRENDER, her book-length meditation on the shifting landscapes of the American West at a time of personal and ecological crisis. SURRENDER was published in the UK in 2019 by Fitzcarraldo Editions, and in Canada by House of Anansi. An American edition will be appearing in the US in April, 2020. French, Italian and Spanish editions are also underway. Her writing and photographs have appeared in Dark Mountain, Dazed & Confused, the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, The New Statesman, the Times Literary Supplement and 3:AM among other publications. She is a visiting lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of the Arts.  

Praise for SURRENDER (2019):

‘This is nature writing that we need.’
— Abi Andrews, Irish Times

‘This is a bewitching and deeply affecting book. Pocock’s elegant interweaving of the intimate and the expansive, the personal and the universal, culminates in a work that forces us to consider our own place in, and impact upon, a world that could itself have more past than future.’
Tom Smalley, The Spectator

‘Pocock is an environmentalist, yet she is also clearly a humanist. She is always willing to hear people out, no matter how extreme their points of view, and to accept the limits of her own knowledge. ... Pocock’s writing is a prism, refracting hidden nuance from her subjects and meaning from memory. ... whether it is climate crisis or midlife crisis, Pocock holds her themes lightly, allowing the “fluidity of life” to run its course.’
— Clare Saxby, Times Literary Supplement

— The Best Breakthrough Books of 2019, Mr Porter

Surrender is an astonishing book about the fragility of nature, grief, the American West, the consolations of travel and the exquisite agonies of mortal life. Pocock travels widely in time and space, through memories, visions, the deaths of her parents and the birth of her child. Beautiful, wise and deeply moving, this is ambulatory philosophy at its finest – for readers of Rebecca Solnit, Lauren Elkin, Garnette Cadogan and Iain Sinclair.’
— Joanna Kavenna, author of A Field Guide to Reality

‘Written with great narrative richness and an anthropologist’s intrepid gaze, Surrender is fascinating, urgent and profoundly compelling. It is an important addition to nature’s library.’
— Chloe Aridjis, author of Sea Monsters

‘In Surrender, Joanna Pocock follows rewilders, nomads, ecosexuals and a host of outliers who see living with and off the land as the salvation of our species and everything else on the planet. Her candid and beautifully written journey confronts the angst, guilt and grief she experiences while examining the greatest existential crisis of all time – the killing of diverse life on our planet. Pocock’s book is deeply researched and broad in its search for solutions. Her deft blending and layering of the personal with the political makes Surrender a necessary read for our times.’
— Edward Burtynsky, award-winning photographer and film-maker