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Nature book shortlist

The shortlist for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2018, which celebrates the best books about Nature
Nature book shortlist

Celebrating its fifth year, The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize, is awarded annually to the book that most successfully reflects the ethos of renowned Nature writer Alfred Wainwright’s work, to inspire readers to explore the outdoors and to nurture a respect for the natural world.

The role of Nature writing

As in previous years, the seven shortlisted titles for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2018 demonstrate the role that Nature writing can play in drawing attention to wider social, environmental and personal issues.

A number of the shortlisted books chart a personal journey of discovery and the vital role that Nature plays on that journey.

Two of the books are close studies of the natural world that carry messages and warnings about our changing world. The list is completed with a social history of a particular natural environment and a memoir of a childhood spent in and around Nature.

For the first time, the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2018 shortlist contains a children’s book: the stunning The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. Robert Macfarlane has been shortlisted for the prize twice before.

The shortlist

  • The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell (Tinder Press)
  • Hidden Nature by Alys Fowler (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Outskirts by John Grindrod (Sceptre)
  • The Dun Cow Rib by John Lister-Kaye (Canongate)
  • The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris (Hamish Hamilton)
  • The Seabird’s Cry by Adam Nicolson (William Collins, HarperCollins)
  • The Salt Path by Raynor Winn (Michael Joseph)

Events and winners

The winner will, for the third year running, be announced at an event in the National Trust Arena at BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace, on 02 August.

Times + will host an event for members to celebrate the prize on 25 July at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Hosted by judge Megan Hine, speakers will be shortlisted authors Raynor Winn, John Grindrod and Neil Ansell.

Last year’s Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize was won by John Lewis-Stempel for Where Poppies Blow: The British Soldier, Nature, The Great War, a vivid picture of life on the Western Front as seen through the relationship between man and nature.

The prize, named after much-loved Nature writer Alfred Wainwright, is supported by White Lion Publishing, publisher of the Wainwright Guides, Wainwright Golden Beer, the Wainwright estate and in partnership with the National Trust. The winner will receive a cheque for £5,000.

‘The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize is as significant as ever – the upsurge in Nature writing is welcomed by us all and chairing the judging panel for this prize is a genuine joy. The books that my fellow judges and I have shortlisted demonstrate the different faces of Nature, experienced and expressed in strikingly different ways. The breadth and variety of Nature writing in the UK today is exciting and unpredictable, and it’s a thrill to celebrate that diversity.’

Chair of judges

Bookshop and library competition

Bookshops and libraries are invited to enter the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize Display Competition by tweeting an image of their Wainwright Shortlist or Winner display before 31 August.

The bookshop or library that puts on the winning display will win 10 National Trust Family Day Passes and 24 bottles of Wainwright Golden Beer.

Click here to find out more about the children’s authors and illustrators who have joined the call to ditch plastic.

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