The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2019 Longlist Announced on World Environment Day

June 5, 2019

The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize for nature writing longlist announced on World Environment Day

The longlist for The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize which celebrates the best books about nature, the outdoors and UK travel is announced today, Wednesday 5th June 2019.

The longlist is announced in conjuncture with World Environment Day, the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment, in solidarity with the message at the core of each organisation.

Celebrating its sixth year, The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize, is awarded annually to the book which 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.

Within challenging times and facing a climate crisis, British nature writing continues to blossom. Each of the longlisted books inspire a love and respect for nature from Kate Humble’s Thinking On My Feet, to Lynne Roper’s moving Wild Woman Swimming, and Luke Turner’s Out of the Woods which reflect on the positive impacts nature can have on our overall health and wellbeing to Mark Cocker’s Our Place and Tim Dee’s Landfill which shine a spotlight on environmental threats.

Central to a number of the longlisted books is an investigation of our place within both wild and urban landscapes and the liminal places in between. From Bob Gilbert’s Ghost Trees which chronicles the trees which have shaped London, to Juliet Blaxland’s account of a year living in a house soon to crumble into the sea in The Easternmost House; Marc Hamer’s insight into his life as a traditional mole-catcher and why he gave it up in How to Catch a Mole; Damian Le Bas’ journey through Gypsy Britain in The Stopping Places to Isabella Tree’s account of a pioneering rewilding project in Wilding; each author interrogates our role and experiences within shifting environments.

There are some familiar faces in the 2019 longlist with three times nominated nature writer Robert Macfarlane’s latest book, Underland, which takes a dazzling journey into the concealed geographies beneath our feet, as well as few names who may surprise. Amongst them is Max Porter and his formally inventive novel Lanny; chimerical, audacious, strange and wonderful, this book takes a fragmented look at an English village. Similarly inventive is Julia Blackburn’s Time Song which seeks the long drowned Doggerland which once connected Britain to mainland Europe.

The 2019 Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize Longlist:

Underland by Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton)

Wilding by Isabella Tree (Picador)

Lanny by Max Porter (Faber & Faber)

Landfill by Tim Dee (Little Toller Books)

Time Song by Julia Blackburn (Jonathon Cape)

Our Place by Mark Cocker (Jonathon Cape)

How To Catch A Mole by Marc Hamer (Harvill Secker)

The Stopping Places by Damian Le Bas (Chatto & Windus)

Thinking On My Feet by Kate Humble (Aster)

Wild Woman Swimming by Lynne Roper (The Selkie Press)

Out of the Woods by Luke Turner (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

The Easternmost House by Juliet Blaxland (Sandstone Press)

Ghost Trees by Bob Gilbert (Saraband)


Jane King from The Wainwright Society comments on the longlist;

“The explosion of writing in this genre is very exciting to see and the longlist this year is even stronger and more varied than before. My late stepfather, Alfred Wainwright, creator of the iconic Pictorial Guides to the Lake District fells, would have been delighted to see so many writers today following in his own love of walking and the British countryside”

The judging panel for the 2019 prize will be chaired, for the third year running, by TV presenter Julia Bradbury. Julia’s fellow judges are: Waterstones non-fiction buyer Clement Knox; National Trust publisher Katie Bond; publisher at Unbound and joint-host of the popular podcast Blacklisted, John Mitchinson; David Lindo otherwise known as The Urban Birder; and Anna Arnell, creative partner for agency And Rising.

Chair of judges, Julia Bradbury comments;

“What a pleasure it is to chair The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize judging panel again this year. This prize celebrates entertaining and challenging books with an emphasis on the natural world and our place in it. Time spent outdoors in nature and green spaces is well known to have a positive impact on our physical health and mental wellbeing. I feel that these books play a vital role in encouraging people to get out there to enjoy and appreciate our natural world up close. It’s a privilege to help to recognize and promote nature writing and the fantastic authors and illustrators working in this genre.”

The prize shortlist will be announced on Tuesday 2nd July at an event at Waterstones Piccadilly. The winner will be announced on 15th August at an event in the National Trust Arena at the BBC Countryfile Live at Castle Howard, Yorkshire.

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 £5000.

Last year’s Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize was won by Adam Nicolson for The Seabird’s Cry, the full story of seabirds looking at the pattern of their lives, their habitats, the threats they face and the passions they inspire.

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