Nature walk; Swampy writes

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The Independent Online
Literary agents have the reputation of leaving no lunch unturned when it comes to wooing a new star, but rarely can an agent have displayed such determination as Luigi Bonomi, writes Suzie Feay.

His prey? Swampy the road protester and tunneller who has been signed up to produce The Eco-Warrior's Handbook, to be published on 6 November by Fourth Estate. Bonomi, of Sheil Land Associates, ran Swampy to ground in mid-protest after what he describes as "an assault course, 40 minutes of slipping and sliding".

But for sheer physical discomfort, Bonomi's chase takes some beating. Signing up Swampy is his first big coup: he has only been an agent since February.

All Bonomi knew was that Daniel Hooper, whocame to fame last year as Swampy, an environmental protester given to tunnelling under proposed road routes, was based at the planned second runway at Manchester Airport. He rang the protest hotline and was vetted by Green activist Spencer Fitzgibbon, already at work with Swampy on a book idea. Bonomi drove to Manchester, went through the security cordon, and met Fitzgibbon at the protesters' HQ.

But Swampy was far away. "Spencer told me, 'You'll have to trek there.' I had to go on my own: sliding down mud banks and clinging on to ropes tied to trees: there were ricketybridges which I doubted would bear my weight. At one point I was perpendicular, clinging to a clump of wild garlic which was the only thing keeping me from slipping into the river."

Clive Priddle at Fourth Estate describes the book as "tips, quips and anecdotes, combining practicals with the sort of supernatural assistance you get when you tune into the earth".