Writer in residence, Jasper Winn will be travelling around Britain's canals recording the quirkier side of life on the waterways.
A new book, detailing the stories behind life on the nation’s canals, is to be published in spring 2018.
It will be compiled by the author, photographer and broadcaster, Jasper Winn, who has just been appointed the Canal & River Trust’s first writer in residence.
Winn is planning on spending the next year talking to those who live, visit, work and volunteer on over 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales.
“Like many other people I suspect, I’ve found that I’ve got more connections with the canal system than I thought; childhood holidays, boats and locks seen from train windows, towpaths walked in country and city,” said Winn.
“For the next year I’ll be exploring and travelling many of the waterways on foot and by bicycle, by canoe and kayak, on stand up paddle board, by steam boat and, of course, by traditional canal craft,” he said.
Winn hopes that by using as many different “forms of slow travel” as possible, it will reflect the numerous ways in which people “engage with the canal roads”.
“It’s also a nature journey through a year on the canals, to experience them in all seasons,” Winn continued.
“The waters frozen, the coming of spring, first swallows, otters, the summer boaters, herons and coots, the rising and falling of water levels, misty dawns, autumn anglers, frost on lock beams, the hot summers days reflected in still, cool waters,” he said.
The book will be published by Profile Books.
Winn has 30 years of travel experience.
He has canoed the length of the Danube, cycled across the Sahara and later travelled for 12 months in Morocco with a nomadic Berber family, and their camels, sheep and goats.
As well as writing for a variety of national newspapers, he is also the author of Paddle: A Long Way Around Ireland about his thousand mile circumnavigation of Ireland by kayak.
The executive producer for the Canal & River Trust’s Arts on the Waterways programme, Tim Eastop, said: “We’re delighted that Jasper will be our first ever writer in residence. As an explorer his adventures mesmerise, and as a writer he has the talent to transport readers to worlds that so many of us might otherwise not discover for ourselves.”
“He follows a rich tradition of writers who have explored and opened people’s eyes to the wonders of the waterways and is the perfect fit to tell the stories of the people, places and journeys that can be found on our canals and rivers,” concluded Eastop.
The Writer in Residence is a two year programme and part of the Canal & River Trust’s Arts on the Waterways initiative.
Inspired by the example of Britain’s post-war canal campaigners, and supported by Arts Council England and the Arts Council of Wales, the programme has, in just four short years, engaged new audiences in the waterways through poetry, dance, theatre, sculpture, music, cinema and comedy.