Thomson wins inaugural Thwaites Wainwright Prize

Thomson wins inaugural Thwaites Wainwright Prize

A book exploring England’s ancient track roads and green grass roads has won the inaugural 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize for UK Nature and Travel Writing.
 
Hugh Thomson’s The Green Road into the Trees: A Walk Through England (Windmill, Random House), was awarded the £5,000 prize last night (Thursday 8th May) at the Royal College of Surgeons’ Library, London.

Dame Fiona Reynolds, chair of the prize and former director-general of the National Trust, described the winning title as “the best mix of contemporary nature and travel writing:  a narrative journey spiced with humour and anecdote, gritty reality and evocation of place and history”.

Thompson commented: “After years of travelling in exotic places like Peru, Mexico and the Indian Himalaya, this book gave me the chance to explore perhaps the strangest country of them all - my own.”

The Thwaites Wainwright Prize was launched last year by publisher Frances Lincoln in association with the National Trust in memory of celebrated fell-walker and travel writer, Alfred Wainwright. It aims to reward outstanding literary titles inspired by the general outdoors, UK nature and travel, and is open to authors from all over the world with narrative or illustrated non-fiction books focussed on the British countryside.
 
Reynolds said: “The long list was impressive, the shortlist inspiring and we agonised about our final choice. All the finalists have added richly to this rapidly growing genre, and we hope this prize will inspire many others to write about the places and stories they love”.

The six other shortlisted titles were Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham (Granta); Field Notes from a Hidden City: An Urban Nature Diary by Esther Woolfson (Granta); The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane (Penguin Books); Under Another Sky by Charlotte Higgins (Jonathan Cape); and Walking Home by Simon Armitage (Faber).
 
In addition to Reynolds, the judging panel was comprised of the National Trust Magazine’s Sally Palmer; David Johnson of The Wainwright Society; publisher and chief executive of The Bookseller, Nigel Roby; BBC Countryfile’s Fergus Collins; and Tony Maher of Stanfords.

The prize is sponsored by Thwaites Brewery, which brews Wainwright Ale, and the National Trust and Stanfords are official campaign partners.