Crowdfunding campaigns for The Lost Words reach 15

Crowdfunding campaigns for The Lost Words reach 15

The number of crowdfunding campaigns to buy copies of Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris' nature anthology, The Lost Words, has now reached 15, with new campaigns in Powys, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

Morris, who illustrated the book, said the campaigns have “a life of their own”.

“It’s like having a child that grows up and does lots of things independently; it’s wonderful and totally unexpected.”

Hamish Hamilton published The Lost Words last year and by February a campaigner had crowdfunded more than £25,000 to buy a copy for every primary school in Scotland. Jane Beaton was inspired to raise the money after asking Macfarlane on Twitter if there were any plans to give copies to schools, and then kept books in a shipping container in her garden before delivering them across the country.

Since then 12 more appeals have launched on ‘The Lost Words Movement’ site, most recently in Powys, Wales, where campaigners want to buy the book for the 163 schools in the region as well as some Special Learning Centres and Forest schools.

Campaigners have also successfully reached funding targets in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Sheffield, Lambeth and Wandsworth, Dorset, Haringey, and Gloucestershire. Campaigns in South Glamorgan, Cornwall and Norfolk failed to reach but Morris said two wildlife trusts have also got involved, running campaigns that are not on ‘The Lost Words Movement’ site.

“The people who are running these campaigns are building connections between themselves, which is fantastic,” Morris said. “They’ve all been supporting each other.”

The publisher has been selling the book to campaigners at an average price £9.60, so less than half price, she added, saying the discount was the “only one I approve of”.

The Lost Words features poems structured around 20 nature words including ‘acorn’, ‘willow’ and ‘kingfisher’. Macfarlane and Morris created The Lost Words after Oxford University Press (OUP) after they cut nature words from the Oxford Junior Dictionary and chose ‘hashtag’ as its ‘children’s word of the year. At the time, Macfarlane said he wanted to find a way “to release these simple wonder-words back into their stories and their dreams”.

Since publication the book has won or been shortlisted for multiple prizes. It won children’s book of the year at the British Book Awards, alongside The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Walker Books) and was last month shortlisted for the £5,000 Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize for nature writing.