Nan Shepherd Prize for underrepresented voices in nature writing returns

Nan Shepherd Prize for underrepresented voices in nature writing returns

The Nan Shepherd Prize is returning this month, coinciding with the publication of Small Bodies of Water by the prize's inaugural winner, Nina Mingya Powles. 

Launched by Canongate in 2019, the biennial prize spotlights underrepresented voices in nature writing, aiming to provide an inclusive platform for new and emerging writers and to foster new talent. It is named after Nan Shepherd, author of The Living Mountain (Canongate).

Submissions for the 2021 prize open today (6th August). Entrants are invited to submit a non-fiction proposal with a focus on nature, the natural world and the environment. The winner will receive a Canongate book deal with a £10,000 advance and the option of literary representation with The Good Literary Agency.

The judging panel for the 2021 Nan Shepherd Prize includes Jessica J Lee, author and founding editor of the Willowherb Review, author Alice Vincent, Rukhsana Yasmin, associate literary agent at The Good Literary Agency, and Adrian Cooper, co-founder and publisher of Little Toller Books. The panel will be chaired by Ellah Wakatama, editor-at-large at Canongate.

London-based writer and editor Powles won the inaugural prize for her collection of essays exploring growing up between two different cultures. It publishes in hardback this week. As part of the campaign, Powles will be appearing at the Edinburgh International Book Festival later this month. Granta has published a piece from the book and Caught by the River has chosen it as book of the month.

The prize is run by senior rights manager Caroline Clarke and assistant editor Megan Reid, assistant editor who said in a joint statement: "We are so excited to launch the 2021 Nan Shepherd Prize this week, alongside publication of Nina Mingya Powles’ exquisite book, Small Bodies of Water. We were blown away by the response to the inaugural prize in 2019, and were thrilled to find such a talented winner in Nina. We can’t wait to read this year’s entries!"