Dal Kular, Joanne Key and Jasmine Farndon have been shortlisted for this year's Nature Writing Prize for Working-Class Writers.
The prize was set up in 2020 by Natasha Carthew (pictured) to "help break the stereotype of what is perceived as a nature writer". It is free to enter for writers all over the UK, and is sponsored this year by Gaia Books and the National Trust.
Kular, Key and Farndon were picked for the shortlist after submitting pieces of writing. The prize includes editorial feedback from Gaia Books, a stay with National Trust Holidays worth £500 and a nature writing commission with the National Trust based on the stay, publication in the Countryman magazine, and a selection of Little Toller books of their choosing.
Carthew, who has also set up the ClassFest event for working-class writers, said: "We had an overwhelming response this year and entries came from all over the country, not just from writers living and working in the countryside but towns, cities, housing estates, parks, it really has been a pleasure to read. The coronavirus was at the forefront of many of the submissions, and observing/escaping to nature was definitely seen as an act of both defiance and solace, which I think is testament to the positivity and creativity of these working-class writers."
Stephanie Jackson, publisher at Octopus Publishing Group, of which Gaia Books is an imprint, said: "What a joy to see such an engaging collection of thoughtful, heartfelt work – each piece with real merit, each speaking to us in its own way, each providing a fresh lens for seeing nature, experiencing the landscape, connecting with the world outside. Settling on just a handful of entries from so many that inspired was a real challenge, and I congratulate each of the writers shortlisted."
The overall winner will be selected later this year, by Celia Richardson, director of communications at the National Trust. She said: "Like nature, writing is for everyone. We’re very pleased to support this prize which supports nature writing by people who see themselves as working class, giving a platform to unsung writers and untold stories. The pandemic has thrown into focus the everyday human relationship with the natural world. Now more than ever we need a breadth of voices exploring that enduring connection."
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