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Journalist as author: Alice Vincent – Rootbound

Alice Vincent is a digital arts and entertainment journalist who has described her work as “treading the unlikely tightrope between plants and pop culture”. Alongside covering music and literature for the Telegraph, in 2014 she began a weekly gardening column and newsletter documenting her adventures with horticulture in a South London flat. Her guide to gardening for beginners, How to Grow Stuff, was published in 2017, and here she talks about her latest book, Rootbound, published today.

Can you introduce your book in a couple of sentences?

It’s a book about plants, urban nature and heartbreak and how millennials are only the latest in a run of generations to turn to the wider natural world when the one we’ve made gets too much.

How did you come to write Rootbound?

It emerged from writing a newsletter, noughticulture, that would detail tiny snapshots of my adventures in gardening and nature. I wrote it for fun and to have another, entirely unprofessional, space for my words. Over the course of a year or so it became apparent that this had greater potential, and so I started working on a proposal. When it came to the point of needing an agent, I spoke to about a dozen but it was Rachel Mills, at Rachel Mills Literary, who really understood my intentions – she had been a subscriber for a while. We took it to Canongate, my dream publisher, and here we are!

Are you working on another book or do you have other projects under way?

There are always a few book ideas ticking away! For the meantime I’m concentrating on giving this one the best launch into the world possible and also a forthcoming role change – I’m leaving The Telegraph to become Features Editor of Penguin Books, which is exciting.

Can you offer any advice to other journalists thinking about writing a book about their own experiences?

If you’re a journalist, chances are you need less of a proposal ready to meet with agents than those who don’t already write and report for a living – a good agent will spur you on, so do find one. Otherwise, wake up early, stay up late – writing the thing is like training for a marathon, you’ve got to do it even when you don’t feel like it. Finally, accept that your day job may play second fiddle for a bit. And just crack on! You won’t regret it.

What books are you reading right now, or about to pick up?

 Currently reading The Topeka School by Ben Lerner, and Caroline Criado-Perez’s Invisible Women is next on the list. As for forthcoming books, I’m very excited for the impact of Lucy Jones’ Losing Eden, which is a remarkably thought-provoking read.

Are there any examples of your everyday journalism that you’re especially proud of or would just like to share?

I really enjoyed finding another side of Harry Styles’ latest album by interviewing Joellen Lapidus, who made dulcimers for Joni Mitchell and was subsequently tracked down by the millennial pop star:

Are you available for freelance commissions, speaker opportunities or other roles?

Certainly, for freelance writing and speaking.

If I’m a PR professional with a story or opportunity for you, how should I get in touch?

Find me on Twitter @alice_emily or Instagram @noughticulture, where you can email me through my profile.

Rootbound: Rewilding a Life (Canongate, 30/01/2020) is available in hardback, e-book and audio here. Follow Alice on Instagram @noughticulture or Twitter @alice_emily and read her work for the Telegraph on

Tags: author, books
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