The Sea, the Strangers and the Stories (Erewhon Books, 2015) is an essay on the present migration across the Mediterranean and how Europe should respond. It reflects on a theory about the Odyssey elaborated by the novelist and translator Samuel Butler. He believed he had proved that the poem was written by a young woman living in Trapani, a town in western Sicily. Horatio explores the town, leaving the reader to draw his or her own conclusions about the meaning of Butler’s theory today.

The Sea, the Strangers and the Stories costs £3 at Waterstones

Lady Chatterley’s Defendant and other Awkward Customers, an essay collection, is out with Just Press. Here is the page about it on their website. If you would like to order a copy of this book please do so via the Just Press website – that way your money will go to the people who actually put in the work.

A compelling collection… from a highly intelligent author


You can link here to Belinda Webb’s blog about it.

The whole collection has a freshness and a surprisingness which are a delight… I hope lots of people will read this book – for its vigour as well as its vision.

Ronald Blythe

Two themes are of special interest to me — one is the concern for literary endeavor (in the broadest sense) as a potential seedbank or greenhouse for cultural paradigm shifts, whether in the streets of Cairo and Prague, or in somebody’s head… Another theme that speaks to me is the concern for the place of religious life and thought in our world.  This is a vast topic, of course, but I believe you put your oar in with wisdom and compassion.

Taylor Stoehr

I found much to admire and enjoy. I especially liked your critique of Hitchens and Dawkins – you nailed, via Samuel Butler, exactly what is wrong with them.

Jonathan Franzen

‘Drake’s Graffiti’ is a beautifully formed thing. I loved it.

Philip Hoare, author of ‘Leviathan, or The Whale’

I read this book with great interest. I like the trajectory – return to England, Hardy, Dorchester Museum, collateral Olympic damage – very much. Pointing out how the grand project becomes a smokescreen for land piracy is a valuable exercise.

Iain Sinclair on How Thomas Hardy Expressed His Doubt, included in the collection, also available as an Erewhon Book.

How Thomas Hardy Expressed His Doubt by Horatio Morpurgo

How Thomas Hardy Expressed His Doubt by Horatio Morpurgo

How Thomas Hardy expressed his doubt

In search of a more integrated way to write, Horatio Morpurgo turns his attention to Weymouth’s ‘Olympic Road’. As the environmental debate rages, he seeks to extend it beyond journalism, remaining faithful meanwhile to the best traditions of investigative reporting. In a tightly woven narrative, Morpurgo re-visits the controversy surrounding Thomas Hardy’s religious views, looks into the surprising early history of the Dorset County Museum and reflects on his own move to the West Country, each by turn forming part of his response to the new road. Ever more sceptical of consensus reality, he candidly explores the difficulties which beset any attempt to transcend it.

The author was part of the successful campaign to establish a marine reserve in Lyme Bay. The first such protected area of significant size in English waters, it has permanently closed sixty square miles of seabed to the scallop-dredgers. This book, based on a talk Morpurgo gave recently, is part memoir, part updated guide to the West Country’s long and continuing relationship with the sea. The Elizabethan Age of Discovery, the crucial part played by the sea in the development of Darwin’s theory, its role in the present-day study of climate: Morpurgo follows the thread which connects all of these and more.

A revised edition of ‘Drake’s Graffiti’ will be on sale for £5 at the ‘Our Sea Needs Our Say’ event.

Buy ‘How Thomas Hardy Expressed His Doubt’ or ‘Drake’s Graffiti’ online

Horatio Morpurgo’s reportage on the environment and on Central / East European affairs has appeared in many magazines and journals, as well as online. His essays have appeared in The London Magazine, The Edinburgh Review, The New Internationalist, Areté and elsewhere.  He studied at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh and now lives in the South West of England.

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