Mark Cocker Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Typescripts, galley proofs and page proofs for: Richard Meinertzhagen: soldier, scientist and spy (1989); 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). Notebooks; correspondence and reference papers; journalism; audio-cassettes.

Administrative / Biographical History

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 ten books include works of biography, history, literary criticism and memoir. His latest are Claxton: Field Notes from a Small Planet (2014) and Birds and People (both by Jonathan Cape), which was published to international acclaim in 2013 and was a collaboration with the photographer David Tipling. His previous book Crow Country (2008) was shortlisted for several awards, including the Samuel Johnson Prize, and won the New Angle Prize (2009).

Conditions Governing Access

Other than where a specific access restriction is noted, the collection is open for consultation in the Archives Department by appointment during its advertised opening hours.

Acquisition Information

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.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

Reproductions can be supplied in hard copy or digital format subject to physical condition and the terms of deposit. A charge is made for this service. Copyright restrictions may apply and the advice of the Archives department should be sought for any use of reproductions other than personal research.

Custodial History

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

The collection is a loan deposit at the University of East Anglia. The papers are owned by Mark Cocker.

Related Material

Cocker deposited research papers (the subject of a biography) on Richard Meinertzhagen at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. He also deposited 20 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 Cocker interviewing over 30 key naturalists.