Karen Lloyd


My poetry pamphlet Self Portrait as Ornithologist was published by Mike Barlow at Wayleave Press in July 2020.

Cover picture Self Portrait as Ornithologist pamphlet

A few extracts from reviews of Self Portrait as Ornithologist

“Lloyd’s work is grounded in precise observation, but the best of it goes beyond that in its unsentimental empathy and its imaginative inventiveness.” (Acumen)

“Both language and approach in these poems are alive and rich in invention. There’s none of the stale deja-vu of more derivative writers. She is ‘her own woman’… ” (Artemis)

‘The work is timely. It may be pre-pandemic but the precarious chaos of the world is all around. And yet, there’s more: I loved the way her humour kicked in, just when I needed it.’ (Spinx)

‘In waiting for the grand and impressive we often miss the wonderous things right under our noses. In this collection, we mutually rejoice as the poet unearths small, unexpected treasures’ (Sabotage Reviews)

Order your copy here (£7.50 including P&P):


The Gathering Tide; A Journey Around the Edge of Morecambe Bay was published by Saraband in 2015 and was selected as an Author’s Book of the Year in the Observer and won the prize for Place Writing at the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards. The book is an excursion around the edgelands of this incredible natural amphitheatre, an important overwintering destination for numerous waders. Over 2 years I walked the shoreline, researched in archives, pored over ancient sea charts, explored hidden caves and went out into the middle of the bay to test the sands with ‘sand pilot’ Cedric Robinson. Part social history, part memoir, part archaeological encounter, the book explores what home means, and how we find it.

Praise for The Gathering Tide; ‘Full of earthy realism, observation and quiet lyricism. It is a hugely impressive debut.’ (Mark Cocker.)

‘Beautifully written, weaving fact and personal reflections fluidly and with real skill.’ (Eric Robson.)

‘This poetic book is a map, a layered account of Morecambe Bay, its birds, rivers, names, bones, ghosts and lives, its dangerous beauty, its tragedies… She arrives at her own sense of belonging.’ (Gillian Clarke.)

https://saraband.net @sarabandbooks

The Blackbird Diaries was published by Saraband in 2017. Written as a diary over the course of a single year, I observe the wildlife in our garden on the edge of the English Lake District. The book celebrates the life in an ordinary garden where blackbirds, swifts, sparrowhawks and much more allowed me to notice and celebrate the everyday. But there is more. Visiting the Solway Coast, the Hebrides and the Shropshire hills, the book examines the rise and fall of species, revelling in the thousands of barnacle geese and whooper swans that visit our coasts in winter, and pursues the reasons behind the decline of our iconic lowland curlews and the loss of the iconic golden eagle from the Lake Disrtric. The Blackbird Diaries won the Literature Award at the Lake District Book of the Year Awards 2018.

Extract from a Katherine Norbury’s review on ‘Caught by the River’;

“During the writing of the book, the Lake District was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Lloyd, while characteristically modest in her observations, nonetheless makes it very clear quite how divisive this decision has been for the county, and yet, as ever, she reaches out for the positive: “Set against an epidemic of species loss across the globe, were we in the Lakes to work towards this achievable goal [the replanting of the upland valleys and hills, to improve bio-diversity and conserve topsoil, which famers like James Rebanks are already engaged in], we might show how it is possible to buck that downward trend, to show others how the land can come alive again. After all, without wildlife, landscape is merely background.”

The Blackbird Diaries is therefore a number of things. It is enjoyable bedside reading for the progressing year. But it’s also more than that: The Blackbird Diaries is a keenly observed historical log of the political and ecological decisions affecting Cumbria as we slide towards the brave new world of Brexit.