Rebecca Smith

I am a writer and journalist. My first book, Rural: The Lives of the Working Class Countryside, was published in June 2023 by William Collins.

I have written for The Guardian, The New York Times, UnHerd, The Sunday Post, The List and Cumbria Life.

I worked for BBC Radio for over a decade, producing and co-presenting programmes. I also read and researched for BBC Radio 4 Readings office in Scotland, scoping out books for Book at Bedtime and Book of the Week.

As a freelancer I chair book events, facilitate workshops and produce audio for BBC Radio.

Photo of Rebecca Smith
Photo credit: Lina Hayes

Rural: The Lives of the Working Class Countryside

A revelatory history of the communities and individuals that have shaped the British countryside, Rebecca Smith’s exquisitely written account brings little-known rural roles and practices into the light whilst also emphasising the precarity for those whose lives are entangled in the natural landscape.

Work in the countryside ties you, soul and salary, to the land, but often those who labour in nature have the least control over what happens there.

Starting with Smith’s own family history – foresters in Cumbria, miners in Derbyshire, millworkers in Nottinghamshire, builders of reservoirs and the Manchester Ship Canal – Rural is an exploration of our green and pleasant land, and the people whose labour has shaped it.

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