Explore the magic of the natural world, up close, with Looking, Large and Small: an online seasonal pack of observations, illustrations and exercises brought to you by nature writer and environmental historian Jessica J. Lee and novelist and illustrator Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.

Through a series of diary-like entries with observations of the changing seasons followed by easy exercises for you to complete, this guide will have you crouching to peer at tiny mosses beneath the hedgerow and craning your neck to search forests for crown shyness.

Access now >>

Looking, Large and Small is mobile- and -desktop friendly, and is suitable for readers of any age and location – whatever kinds of plant- and wildlife you might find nearby. It is a four-part project with instalments released in tandem with the season.

We’d love for you to share your experience of Looking, Large and Small on social media using the hashtag #CityofLit21.

Twitter @WritersCentre @NNFest

Instagram: @writerscentre @nnfest

Want to learn more about the process behind Looking, Large and Small? Join Jessica J. Lee and novelist and Rowan Hisayo Buchanan as they discuss how they each approach the natural world through their own writing and drawing, and how a year in lockdown inspired them to create a friendly and accessible digital resource for readers young and old Looking, Large and Small. Watch online here

Looking, Large and Small is part of Open Doors: a series of commissions and open submissions programmed by the National Centre for Writing, with support from Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence programme. 

About the artists

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of Harmless Like You and Starling Days. Her work has won the Authors’ Club First Novel Award and a Betty Trask Award. She has been shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award. Her illustrations have been featured by The Second Shelf Bookshop, The Literary Consultancy, Catapult Magazine, The Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Website

Jessica J. Lee is an author, environmental historian, and winner of the 2020 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the 2020 Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature, and the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award. She has written two books of nature writing: Turning (2017) and Two Trees Make a Forest (2019) and has a PhD in Environmental History and Aesthetics. Jessica is the founding editor of The Willowherb Review and works as a researcher at the University of Cambridge. Image (c) Ricardo Rivas. Website

City of Literature is a Norfolk & Norwich Festival and National Centre for Writing presentation, programmed by the National Centre for Writing.

Norfolk & Norwich Festival logo