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Image of Helen Macdonald holding her goshawk

H is for Hawk at Jesus College

A one-off documentary about prize-winning H is for Hawk author and former Jesus College Research Fellow, Helen Macdonald, is set to be broadcast on BBC Two at 9pm on 19 October – including scenes shot at the College.

H Is For Hawk: A New Chapter charts Helen’s return to the world of hawking. Her original memoir documented how she bought and trained a goshawk, Mabel, in an attempt to deal with her grief following her father’s death. Mabel has since died, and this new programme follows Helen as she raises and trains a new goshawk, Lupin.

Helen and Lupin visited the College a year ago last week. Helen worked at the College while training Mabel and returned with the documentary camera crew to show where she was based at the time described in her book, and where she had flown Mabel on the College grounds.

The BBC description of the programme states “As Helen hides herself away to begin training the new bird, it soon becomes clear that this chick is very different to Mabel - and so begins a process that is, for Helen, at once familiar and strange: the intense process of learning to live with a hawk.”

H is for Hawk won both the 2014 Costa Book of the Year and Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction (now renamed the Baillie Gifford Prize).


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