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DCA Archive

In the Evening There is Feeling: Reading Nan Shepherd

Led by DCA’s Head of Exhibitions, Eoin Dara, In the Evening There is Feeling is DCA’s reading group. It takes its name from Gertrude Stein’s 1914 book Tender Buttons and focuses, in an informal and welcoming way, on feminist and queer texts from the worlds of art and literature.  

Connecting to Emma Talbot’s work in the gallery exploring future landscapes after a cataclysmic world event, this session will introduce and discuss some excerpts from Nan Shepherd's book The Living Mountain, offering up an extraordinary account of walking through and living with the Cairngorm mountains in Scotland.  

Anna (Nan) Shepherd was born in 1893 and died in 1981. Closely attached to Aberdeen and her native Deeside, she graduated from her home university in 1915 and for the next 41 years worked as a lecturer in English. An enthusiastic gardener and hillwalker, she made many visits to the Cairngorms with students, friends and loved ones. In her lifetime she travelled further afield, but always returned to the house where she was raised and where she lived almost all of her adult life, in the village of West Cults, three miles from Aberdeen.   

Written during World War II, the manuscript of The Living Mountain lay untouched for more than 30 years before it was finally published in 1977. Shepherd's precise and poetic prose explores and records the rocks, rivers, creatures and hidden aspects of the Cairngorms. The book reimagined what nature writing could be, eschewing the typical patriarchal narrative of male dominion over any given landscape in favour of writing about connecting with the natural world in intimate and quietly profound ways.  

To join the conversation, book your place before 17:00 on Wed 14 July. We will send you digital copies of the texts and details of the Zoom meeting upon booking.