MacFarlane’s Underland wins Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize

MacFarlane’s Underland wins Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize

Robert MacFarlane has triumphed at the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize with eighth book Underland.

The presentation of the £5,000 prize was made by BBC Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison at the National Trust Theatre at BBC Countryfile Live at Castle Howard, Yorkshire. The prize-giving took place at the end of a public event celebrating nature writing today (Thursday 15th August).

The judges said Underland was a “passionate book” which demonstrates the urgent need “to lessen the impact of human life on the natural world”.

In Underland (Hamish Hamilton), MacFarlane dives into the hidden underworlds across the globe, including below-ground mycelial networks and the depths of glacial sinkholes.

Chair of judges Julia Bradbury said: “Robert has been shortlisted for the prize four times now, so, it feels right that this book, which we all considered to be his best book, has finally won. He writes in a beautiful, lyrical style and this book is a claustrophobic thriller of sorts. He takes his subject, and excavates it comprehensively.”


Bradbury was joined on the judging panel by Waterstones non-fiction buyer Clement Knox; National Trust publisher Katie Bond; Unbound publisher and joint-host of podcast Backlisted John Mitchinson; And Rising creative partner Anna Arnell and David Lindo, known as The Urban Birder. Judges gave special commendation to Wilding by Isabella Tree which they called “an important experiment of handing her farm at Knepp back to nature.”

The prize is sponsored by Marston, who produce Wainwright Golden Beer and supported by partners: White Lion Publishing, publisher of the Wainwright Guides, the Wainwright estate & the National Trust.

The winner receives a cheque for £5000, a keg of Wainwright Golden Beer, and a full set of the latest Wainwright pictorial walking guides.