Nature writer John Lewis-Stempel has doubled his chances of winning the Wainwright Golden Beer Prize after having two of his titles longlisted.
Lewis-Stempel, who won the prize in 2015 for Meadowland: the Private Life of an English Field (Black Swan), has been longlisted this year for his titles The Running Hare (Transworld) and Where Poppies Blow (Orion).
The £5,000 award celebrates the best books about nature, the outdoors and UK travel, with finalists covering a range of subjects including studies of otters and of foxes, a celebration of birdwatching, a memoir set against a lifetime of fishing, an account of the relationship that soldiers in WWI had with nature and a study in to the rewilding of Britain’s urban and rural areas.
Publisher Penguin Random House has five of its titles in the running for the prize.
Besides Lewis-Stempel’s The Running Hare, the others published by PRH are A Sky Full of Birds by Matt Merritt, Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham (both Ebury), Wild Kingdom by Stephen Moss (Vintage) and The January Man by Christopher Somerville (Transworld).
Hachette, meanwhile, has two titles on the longlist; The Wild Other by Clover Stroud (Hodder & Stoughton) along with Lewis-Stempel’s aforementioned Where Poppies Blow.
Indie presses are strong among the finalists, with Love of Country by Madeline Bunting (Granta) listed along with The Nature of Autumn by Jim Crumley (Saraband), Foxes Unearthed: A Story of Love and Loathing in Modern Britain by Lucy Jones (Elliott & Thompson) and Love, Madness, Fishing by Dexter Petley (Little Toller Books).
HarperCollins has one in the running - The Otter’s Tale by Simon Cooper.
The judging panel for the 2017 prize will be chaired by TV presenter Julia Bradbury. Joining her on the judging panel are: fellow TV presenter Matt Baker; publisher 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.
Bradbury said: “The books that my fellow judges and I have longlisted capture many different aspects of the natural world whilst displaying the strength and variety in nature writing in the UK today. I'm excited that through this prize, we are helping to celebrate these books and the natural landscapes and creatures that have inspired them."
The prize shortlist will be announced on Tuesday 27th June and the winner will be announced on 3rd August at an event in the National Trust Arena at the BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace.