Wainwright Book Prize shortlist reveals strength of nature writing today

Wainwright Book Prize shortlist reveals strength of nature writing today

Books from Granta, William Collins, W&N, Vintage, Doubleday and Hodder & Stoughton will compete for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize, celebrating the best books about nature, the outdoors and UK travel.

The seven-strong shortlist, announced today (27th June), was held up by the judges as "evidence of the continued creativity and strength in nature writing today".

Now in its fourth year, the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize celebrates the books which most successfully reflect the ethos of nature writer Alfred Wainwright’s work "to inspire readers to explore the outdoors and to nurture a respect for the natural world".

The shortlist comprises: Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey by Madeleine Bunting (Granta), throwing a spotlight on the Hebrides' landscapes and histories; The Otters’ Tale by Simon Cooper (William Collins) and The Running Hare by John Lewis-Stempel (Doubleday), each exploring the lives of animals, the latter with conservation at its heart; Wild Kingdom by Stephen Moss (Vintage), Where Poppies Blow by John Lewis-Stempel (W&N), telling the story of the British soldiers of the Great War and their relationship with the animals and plants around them; The January Man by Christopher Somerville (Doubleday) and journalist Clover Stroud's memoir The Wild Other (Hodder & Stoughton).

PRH accounts for three entries on the shortlist, between Vintage and Doubleday's double billing, while Hachette has two books in the running, HarperCollins one, and Granta, the only independent on the shortlist, also one. 

Chair of the judges, Julia Bradbury, is joined on the judging panel for the 2017 prize by TV presenter Matt Baker; editor of the National Trust Magazine, Sally Palmer; chair of both "Gardener’s Question Time" and the Wainwright Society, Eric Robson; Mail on Sunday journalist, Sarah Oliver; and ex-Chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Peter Waine.

On behalf of the judges, Bradbury said: “The judges are delighted to have settled on such a strong shortlist and what an honour it is to sing the praises of these terrific books. Because the quality of nature writing is so high, we have taken the unprecedented move of shortlisting seven books rather than six. These books paint a picture of the natural world as dynamic, varied and beautiful and we hope that in reading them people will be inspired to go and explore the UK’s wonderful natural environment.”

The prize shortlist will be celebrated at a party at Stanfords bookshop in London on Tuesday 27th June. The winner will be announced on 3rd August at an event in the National Trust Arena at BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace.

The prize, supported by Wainwright Golden Beer and the Wainwright estate and in partnership with the National Trust, will reward the winner with a cheque for £5,000.

Bookshops and libraries are now invited to enter the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize Display Competition, in which they are asked to tweet an image of a display showcasing the Wainwright shortlist or winner before 31st August. The bookshop or library that puts on the winning display will win 10 National Trust day passes and 24 bottles of Wainwright Golden Beer.