Assuming for a moment that we are what we do, I’m an author and freelance non-flying travel journalist (though if we are what we eat, I’m mainly soya). I’ve written a dozen genre-bending books and a couple of others that give librarians fewer dilemmas.
My most recent work is the The Ultimate Bucket List – 50 Buckets You Must See Before You Die. Thrillingly, it was launched on 5th November 2020, the date best known in England as ‘The Day All The Bookshops Closed for the Second Lockdown’. The Tories, eh? Nye Bevan was right. Anyway, before that, I penned all manner of books. Tiny Churches is one that springs to mind. There was also Tiny Stations, Tiny Islands and the three editions of Tiny Campsites.
Before the mania for all things tiny struck me, I managed to knock out a few non-size-specific books, including The Z-Z of Great Britain, Places to Hide in England, Scotland and Wales, New World Order (Wills Weltordnung in its Bloomsbury Berlin edition) and, under the name Johnson P Johnson, The Armchair Naturalist (all Icon). This last tome is about to be launched in China in Simplified Chinese (though I confess I’m not altogether sure why, since it deals with British flora and fauna, but hey, it could be a huge sleeper hit in Beijing).
I write for the UK newspaper The Guardian, mainly on green travel. You can read my articles here. You might also find me popping up in other newspapers (though not the ghastly ones, you’ll be cheered to learn) and magazines such as Countryfile, Country Walking and The Countryman. Indeed, anything with ‘Country’ in the title is likely to be burdened with some of my words, unless it’s Country Life, in which case you’re safe. I used to host an underrated spoken word night-cum-pub quiz mash up called Stranger Than Fiction. I also have a cracking Isle of Dogs-based romcom script unjustly gathering dust in a cupboard. Is there no start to my talents?
You can follow me on twitter at @dixewills, though I can’t guarantee that you’ll improve your life by doing so. Also, I rarely tweet nowadays, except to correct whatever nonsense my local MP has written. If you live for that sort of thing, your luck’s in.
If you need to contact me, you can do so at dwills at phonecoop dot coop. Yes, that’s a dot coop address, the coolest thing on the internet and no mistake. Happy to receive communications in English, español, français or norsk (but not all four at once).
24 thoughts on “Self”
How are you old friend. Still penning words I see. I’m busy running a primary school and when I get the chance still strum. Now have a budding rhythm section in the attic with teenage boys!
How goes it amigo? Love the mugshot.
Yes, we aim to please but, sadly, mostly miss the mark.
Currently in Wales walking endlessly. It’s now officially what I do.
See you soon, I hope,
Aha – here you are!
How goes the journeying?
And hello to Tim Rose too!
I just started trawling the net for data on going round uk on buses. AS a bus pass holder, it seemed like the right use for all that gov munificence. Found your blog which I guess will become a book in the fullness of time. Did you discover anyone who had collated all the bus data in one place, even though you did not plan to use such a method?
Good luck with your jurney, like the blog.
Michael Thomson, OAP with wanderlust!
As you mention, I didn’t actually do any research myself before setting off, but with my Guardian travel writer’s
hat on I do know of two good websites you might want to look at for your own travels:
http://www.carlberry.co.uk/ and http://www.transportdirect.info
Your article in the Guardian on 24/07/10 about the Way of the Roses has inspired us no end.
Me and my 3 team mates have decided to give it a go at the beginning of October, but are still awaiting the official Sustrans map, as we would like to do a trial run of the Morecambe to Settle section in a few weeks.
Do you have a map of this section? If not, can you put me in touch with Rupert, the ‘Impressive Lycra-clad man who helped devise the route’ who you mentioned in your article?
It’s a great route but I’m afraid I don’t have a map for it – we were led by Rupert so didn’t need one.
Said Rupert also works for Sustrans so I imagine he’d only tell you that you’ll have to wait for the
official map to be launched. However, you could e-mail Sustrans and see if they can help you out
in some way. They’re at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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I’ve just bought your Tiny Campsites book on the strength of this Bike Show podcast. I’ve been bitten by the S24O bug as Grant Peterson calls it and look forward to spring arriving to get out and enjoy the Loch Lomond and Muirshiel Parks. I had until now always treated cycle touring as a kind of big event but this podcast showed how easy it is to have a little mini-event if you like with just a couple of hours cycling.
Thanks for getting in touch. I hope you find Tiny Campsites useful – if you’re hitting Loch Lomond, you MUST spend a night or two on Inchcailloch – one of my faves (and happily, I had to go back there last year because it also features in my next book, Tiny Islands). All the best, Dixe
Good having you visit Berry Pomeroy Church and village today for the Grauniad. I think I must have misheard your email address. If you wish anything on JoG to Land’s End, plse shake my tree at address below.
Very best n
When are you going to hand in your paper on the Imprecatory Psalms? I have been waiting for 20 years.
Hi Dixe, would you be interested in doing our In the Know interview for thisisnorthumberland.com?
Examples here: http://www.thisisnorthumberland.com/category/in-the-know/
You probably won’t remember me but I helped arrange your St Cuthbert’s walk in Northumberland and would love to have your interview on our site. Hope to hear from you. Sheelagh (email@example.com)
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I am taking space here as a lazy writer, travel nut, California based sailor and Anglophile who wanted to draw attention to a v/blogger who I think to be something of a British national treasure. Forgive me if I am really “late to the party” but just in case:
His vlog is in it’s 8th season
“Keep Turning Left”
Regards from someone who very much enjoys your articles.
Thanks for your kind words, Christopher.
I confess to being so uncutting edge that Dylan Winters is new to me. Shall check him out straightways.
All the best, Dixe
Shame on me… Dixe.
NOT Dixie…well I did say I was a lazy writer.
Hi, Heard your piece on ‘Saturday Live’ yesterday – which pricked up my ears when you mentioned the Italian Chapel here. I’m on the next island (Burray). You’ll be saddened to know that someone stole one of the ‘Stations of the Cross’ plaques (kindly replaced by a relative of one of the P.O.Ws) and now they’ve had to install a Warden as the place is now ‘overrun’ with tourists from the dozens of cruise ships that call in here every year.- You saw it at the right time!
P.S. Lovely tiny campsite called ‘Weems’ on road ‘twixt the ferry at St Margarets Hope and Burray village should you ever visit again.
Sorry, your message fell through the cracks somehow. How splendid to live on Burray. Very many thanks for your message and your top tiny campsite tip. If there’s a fourth edition I’ll certainly pop up for a visit. I’ve been up again since the warden was installed but hadn’t heard about the theft that prompted the move. Hey la.
All the best
I have just read, with great enthusiasm, Tiny Stations. I was thrilled by your accounts and descriptions of all you saw and experienced. The language used is marvellous. I was very impressed too by your self sufficiency. I finished your book whilst waiting in the local hospital for a minor op to be performed and the ending was so magical that it put a spring in my step as I went ‘under the knife’. Well done.
Very many thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed Tiny Stations and that it had some palliative effect as well – I’d like to say this is precisely the reason I wrote the book in the first place.
All the best and I hope recovery is swift,
Bought Tiny Churches this weekend; had to immediately then rush out and buy Tiny Histories, but sadly for me, in the two Waterstone’s I tried, Tiny Islands, was sold out (exceptionally nice bookseller in Gower St branch) – a rush on the Tiny Books series! Can’t wait for Tiny Britain in May (my birthday month as it happens…guess what’s on the list). Loved the reference to Nigel Tufnell. Bloke who set up a church in his garden in Sutton is clearly a man worth meeting. Have actually been to a few of the Tiny Churches; one of them I know particularly well. Brilliant books.
Thanks for your kind words, Sam. And happy you got the Nigel reference – I like to throw in the occasional Tap line for fellow fans of the film. Have a fine birthday next month, Dixe