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The 2021 Wainwright Prize: Longlists announced for literary prize which celebrates the best in nature writing

The longlists for The 2021 Wainwright Prize for UK Nature Writing and The Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation have been announced. This year’s longlisted books emphasise how nature writing continues to blossom, both in UK and around the world.

Against the backdrop of the global Covid-19 pandemic, and with our natural landscapes under increasing threat from the climate crisis, the prize feels timelier than ever before, as we all are recognising the restorative role that nature plays, and the urgency with which we need to protect it.

Named after nature writer Alfred Wainwright, and now in its eighth year, The Wainwright Prize for UK Nature Writing is awarded annually to the book which most successfully inspires readers to explore the outdoors and to nurture a respect for the natural world.

In 2020, the prize was extended to include a second category for books about global conservation and climate change. This reflects the growing cry for action to meet climate change targets and halt the destruction of wildlife and natural habitats.

Held in partnership with the National Trust, the £5000 prize fund will be shared and presented to the authors of the two winning books.       

13 books have been longlisted for the nature writing prize, while the longlist for writing on global conservation includes 12 books.

The Nature Writing judging panel will be chaired by TV presenter Julia Bradbury, and BBC Countryfile presenter Charlotte Smith will be the chair of judges for the Global Conservation Prize.

Author and illustrator Dorien Brouwers is the new official artist for 2021 campaign, with her fresh and fluid illustrations poised to inject life into the prize aesthetic.

The 2021 Wainwright Prize for UK Nature Writing longlist includes:

Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald (Vintage)
The Stubborn Light of Things: A Nature Diary, 
Melissa Harrison (Faber)
Seed to Dust, 
Marc Hamer (Vintage)
The Screaming Sky, 
Charles Foster (Little Toller Books)
English Pastoral: An Inheritance, 
James Rebanks (Penguin Press)
Into The Tangled Bank, 
Lev Parikian (Elliott & Thompson)
Thin Places, 
Kerri ní Dochartaigh (Canongate Books)
Birdsong in a Time of Silence, 
Steven Lovatt (Penguin Press)
I Belong Here, 
Anita Sethi (Bloomsbury)
Charlie Gilmour (Orion Publishing Group)
The Circling Sky, 
Neil Ansell (Headline)
The Wild Silence, 
Raynor Winn (Michael Joseph)
Skylarks with Rosie, 
Stephen Moss (Saraband)

The 2021 Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation longlist includes:

Entangled Life, Merlin Sheldrake (Vintage)
A Life on Our Planet, David Attenborough (Penguin Random House)
Islands of Abandonment, Cal Flyn (HarperCollins)
What If We stopped Pretending, Jonathan Franzen (HarperCollins)
Net Zero: How We Stop Causing Climate Change, Dieter Helm (HarperCollins)
Under a White Sky, Elizabeth Kolbert (Vintage)
A World on the Wing, Scott Weidensaul (Pan Macmillan)
Riders on the Storm, Alastair McIntosh (Birlinn Ltd)
Fathoms, Rebecca Giggs (Scribe)
The Reindeer Chronicles, Judith D. Schwartz (Chelsea Green Publishing)
Ice Rivers, Jemma Wadham (Penguin Press)
The New Climate War, Michael E. Mann (Scribe)

The shortlist will be announced on August 4th and the winning books would be announced on September 7th.

Last year, the winners were – The Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty of the UK nature writing prize, and Rebirding by Benedict Macdonald for writing on global conservation.


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About the author

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Chirdeep Malhotra

Dr Malhotra is Editor, Books and Features at The Dispatch. A medical practitioner, a bibliophile, he calls Jammu home. He has an interest in International Relations and World affairs. He enjoys writing, watching documentaries, and exploring the culture and local cuisines of Jammu & Kashmir.

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