The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris (Hamish Hamilton) has been longlisted for the 2018 Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize for nature writing, in a list that also includes titles by Tom Cox, John Lewis-Stemple and Patrick Barkham.
Celebrating its fifth year, The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize is awarded annually to the book which "most successfully reflects the ethos" of nature writer Alfred Wainwright’s work, which is to "inspire readers to explore the outdoors and to nurture a respect for the natural world".
According to the organisers, the 2018 Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize longlist demonstrates that British nature writing and publishing "continue to blossom", and due to the continued strength of the genre the judges have chosen to longlist 13 books rather than the usual 12.
Macfarlane and Morris’s award-winning The Lost Words is longlisted alongside Barkham’s Islander (Granta), Cox’s 21st Century Yokel (Unbound) and two-time Wainwright Prize winner Lewis-Stempel's The Wood (Doubleday).
Meanwhile, Faber has two on the list: The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young and Owl Sense by Miriam Darlington which is published by its Guardian Faber imprint.
Also on the list from independent publishers are The Dun Cow Rib by John Lister-Kaye (Canongate) and A Wood of One’s Own by Ruth Pavey (Duckworth Overlook).
Coming from the bigger publishers and rounding out the longlist are Hidden Nature by Alys Fowler (Hodder & Stoughton), Outskirts by John Grindrod (Sceptre), The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell (Tinder Press), The Salt Path by Raynor Winn (Michael Joseph), and The Seabird’s Cry by Adam Nicolson (William Collins, HarperCollins).
The judging panel for the 2018 prize will be chaired, for the second year running, by TV presenter Julia Bradbury. Joining Bradbury on the judging panel are TV presenter Megan Hine; Waterstones non-fiction buyer Bea Carvalho; National Trust publisher Katie Bond; and ex-Chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Peter Waine.
Bradbury said: “What a pleasure it is to chair The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize judging panel again this year. This prize celebrates entertaining and challenging books with an emphasis on the natural world and our place in it. Time spent outdoors in nature and green spaces is well known to have a positive impact on our physical health and mental wellbeing. I feel that these books play a vital role in encouraging people to get out there to enjoy and appreciate our natural world up close. It’s a privilege to help to recognize and promote nature writing and the fantastic authors and illustrators working in this genre.”
The prize shortlist will be announced on Thursday 5th July at an event at Waterstones Piccadilly. The winner will be announced on 2nd August at an event in the National Trust Arena at the BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace. The winner will receive a cheque for £5,000.
Last year’s Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize was won by Lewis-Stempel for Where Poppies Blow: The British Soldier, Nature, The Great War (W&N), a "vivid" picture of life on the Western Front as seen through the relationship between man and nature.
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