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MC - Mark Cocker Archive

Reference code
Level of description
Mark Cocker Archive
Quantity & Format
20 boxes Mixed
Corporate name
British Archive for Contemporary Writing
Personal name
Meinertzhagen, Richard 1878-1967
Natural history
Bird watching
Cocker, Mark
Scope and content
Mark Cocker has written extensively for British newspapers and magazines. He has written a regular 'Country Diary' column in the Guardian since 1988 and a wildlife column in the international subscribers' edition, the Guardian Weekly from 1996–2002. He reviews regularly for the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement.

Cocker was brought up and educated in Buxton, Derbyshire. He was educated at Buxton College, and studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia (1978–82).

An active environmentalist, Cocker worked for the RSPB (1985), English Nature (now Natural England 1985–86) and BirdLife International (1988–89). In 1998 he received a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship to explore the cultural importance of birds in West Africa (Benin and Cameroon).

His eleven books include works of biography, history, literary criticism and memoir. His latest are 'Our Place' (2018) and 'Field Notes from a Small Planet' (2014). 'Birds and People' was published to international acclaim in 2013 and was a collaboration with the photographer David Tipling. 'Crow Country' (2008) was shortlisted for several awards, including the Samuel Johnson Prize, and won the New Angle Prize (2009).

The papers in boxes 1-5 were initially deposited by Cocker with the Norfolk Record Office (NRO) with accession no. 2008/430. Cocker transferred the papers to UEA Archives in September 2015 as a loan deposit. Additional 5 boxes arrived Dec 2015 – March 2016. A collection of 9 notebooks were deposited on 15/7/16. A further box was deposited 6/12/16 and the contents of Box 14 was deposited in March 2017. The contents of boxes 15-17 were deposited in a shopping bag in September 2017 and largely relate to the ornithologist Richard Meinertzhagen and MC’s biography Richard Meinertzhagen: Soldier, Scientist and Spy (1989). Boxes 19-20 were deposited in a shopping bag in February 2018 and relate to Loneliness and Time: British Travel Writing in the Twentieth Century (1992).

The collection is one of many individual deposits forming part of the wider British Archive for Contemporary Writing, est. 2015.

Typescripts, galley proofs and page proofs, notebooks, correspondence and reference papers, journalism, audio-cassettes. Publications covered: Richard Meinertzhagen: Soldier, Scientist and Spy (1989); Loneliness and Time (1992); Birders (2001); Birds Britannica (2005); A Tiger in the Sand (2006); Crow Country (2008); Birds and People (2013); Claxton: field notes from a small planet (2014).
Related units of description
MC deposited research papers (the subject of a biography) on Richard Meinertzhagen at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. MC also deposited twenty years of correspondence with leading ornithologist Derek Goodwin (1920-2008) with The Alexander Library of Ornithology, Oxford. The Norfolk Record Office holds audio-visual material of MC interviewing over 30 key naturalists.
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