Helena Attlee

Non-fiction writer


Helena Attlee is a well-established non-fiction author and feature writer. Although best known for her works on Italy and the cultural history of its gardens (Italian Gardens: a cultural history, 2006) she has also published many articles and books about Japan, Portugal and the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. She is a regular contributor to numerous magazines, including Gardens Illustrated, the English Garden, Country Life, Hortus and World of Interiors. She also writes for the bilingual website of an Italian landscape architect based in London.

Managing to scramble over the garden wall at last, she made her escape more recently into a wider landscape, where research for The Land Where Lemons Grow: the story of Italy and its citrus fruit (Particular Books, 2014) saw her travelling from a marmalade kitchen in the blood-orange groves of eastern Sicily to the bloodied streets of Ivrea during the Battle of Oranges. The book emerging from this journey combines history and economics with recipes, art and poetry to take the reader on a journey through Italy’s cultural, moral and political past.

Helena has lived for many years in a small town on the Welsh borders. She lectures on garden history both at home and abroad, and designs and leads tours to gardens all over the world. Building on her experience as an RLF Fellow, Helena has set up Open Ground, a creative-writing programme delivered in outdoor spaces ranging from gardens to supermarket car parks.

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|Helena Attlee

Helena Attlee

Non-fiction writer



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  • University of Worcester, 2009–2012
  • Consultant Fellow