Three books from Penguin Random House have been shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize 2016, alongside books from Canongate, Bloomsbury and John Murray.
Now in its third year, the prize awards £5,000 annually to the work that best reflects nature writer Alfred Wainwright’s core values of celebrating the great British outdoors.
According to the judges, this year’s shortlist "draws a spotlight on the continued resurgence of nature and travel writing in the UK and the staggering breadth of personal issues explored through the genre".
The shortlisted books from PRH are Common Ground (Windmill), a journey into parenthood set within an exploration of a square-mile of Yorkshire woodland by Rob Cowen, Robert Macfarlane's meditation on words and landscape, Landmarks (Penguin) and James Rebank’s account of life as a shepherd in the Lake District, The Shepherd’s Life (Penguin).
Also shortlisted are The Outrun by Amy Liptrot (Canongate), which details her experience of alcoholism and recovery explored through her wild Orkney homeland, The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury (Bloomsbury) about life spent walking Britain’s glittering rivers, and Michael McCarthy’s "moving" memoir of childhood trauma that offers a "rallying cry" for protecting our environment, The Moth Snowstorm (John Murray).
Chair of judges, Dame Fiona Reynolds, said: “We are thrilled to present a shortlist of books that so wonderfully showcases the great breadth and depth of work inspired by our natural world. Our landscape has never been more challenged by change and in very different ways these books remind us of the important role the natural world plays in our personal lives. Each book here provides a unique and uplifting discovery of some aspect or part of the UK, while gifting us with profound and moving experiences. Alfred Wainwright would be very pleased indeed.”
The prize is judged by a panel comprised of Reynolds; Julia Bradbury, TV presenter; Sally Palmer, publisher of National Trust Magazine; Bill Lyons, executive producer of Coast & Countryfile; Dan Lewis, marketing manager of Stanfords; and Fergus Collins, editor of Countryfile Magazine. Assisting in the judging process are Eric Robson and Jane King from The Wainwright Society.
The winner will be announced on Friday 5th August in a special event at Countryfile Live in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.