2020 Longlist for Nature Writing

Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness

Wainwright Prize Nature Writing

When Joe Harkness suffered a breakdown in 2013, he tried all the things his doctor recommended: medication helped, counselling was enlightening, and mindfulness grounded him. But nothing came close to nature, particularly birds.

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Dancing with Bees by Brigit Strawbridge Howard

Wainwright Prize Nature WritingDancing with Bees is Brigit Strawbridge Howard’s eloquent, captivating account of her ‘return to noticing’ the natural world around her. With special attention to the plight of pollinators, Brigit shares her journey to rediscover nature; filled with fascinating details of the lives of flora and fauna that bring her ever-increasing wonder and delight.

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Dark, Salt, Clear by Lamorna Ash

Wainwright Prize Nature WritingA captivating portrait of life in the Cornish town of Newlyn, the largest working fishing port in Britain, from a strikingly original new voice. Dark, Salt, Clear is an evocative journey of personal discovery replete with the poetry and deep history of our fishing communities.

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Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty

Wainwright Prize Nature WritingDiary of a Young Naturalist chronicles the turning of 15-year-old Dara McAnulty’s world. From spring and through a year in his home patch in Northern Ireland, Dara spent the seasons writing. These vivid, evocative and moving diary entries about his connection to wildlife and the way he sees the world are raw in their telling.

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Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape by Patrick Laurie

Wainwright Prize Nature WritingGalloway is a place forgotten – a vague, half-imagined corner of Scotland that has fallen off the map. Patrick Laurie returns to his homeland, to establish a herd of native cattle on the hills above the Solway Firth and encounters the final passing of an ancient rural heritage.

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On the Red Hill by Mike Parker

Wainwright Prize Nature WritingOn the Red Hill is the story of Rhiw Goch, ‘the Red Hill’, and its inhabitants, but also the story of a remarkable rural community and a legacy that extends far beyond bricks and mortar. It is a story that celebrates the turn of the year’s wheel, of ever-changing landscapes, and of the family found in the unlikeliest of places.

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Rootbound by Alice Vincent

Wainwright Prize Nature WritingWhen she suddenly finds herself uprooted, heartbroken, living out of a suitcase and yearning for the comfort of home, Alice Vincent starts to plant seeds. She nurtures pot plants and vines on windowsills and draining boards, and with each unfurling petal and budding leaf, she begins to come back to life.

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Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie

Wainwright Prize Nature WritingIn her luminous new essay collection, Kathleen Jamie visits archaeological sites – a Yup’ik village at the edge of the Bering Sea, the shifting sand dunes of an Orkney island – and mines her own memories and family history, to explore what surfaces and what reconnects us to our past.

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The Frayed Atlantic Edge by David Gange

Wainwright Prize Nature WritingIn one brilliant adventure over the course of a year, David Gange kayaked the coasts of Atlantic Britain and Ireland, every inlet and every island. This book tells that story, and gives a social history of our coasts which for centuries were vital hubs for communication and trade but can often now be neglected.

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The Well Gardened Mind by Sue Stuart-Smith

Wainwright Prize Nature WritingHow can working with nature help us to cultivate our mental health? In a powerful combination of neuroscience, psychology and brilliant anecdotes, this book uncovers the enormous value of gardening and getting outdoors from prison rehabilitation programmes to PTSD recovery to the benefits for the everyday gardener.

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Wanderland by Jini Reddy

Wainwright Prize Nature WritingWanderland is about Jini’s journey to connect with the magical ‘other’ the landscape in Britain, to develop a more spiritual, intimate and reciprocal relationship with nature. It has a timely eco-spiritual edge and is a blend of memoir and nature writing which touches on themes of well-being, identity and belonging.

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Wild Child by Patrick Barkham

Wainwright Prize Nature WritingFrom climbing trees and making dens, to building sandcastles and pond-dipping, many of the activities we associate with a happy childhood take place outdoors. And yet, the reality for many contemporary children is very different.

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Wintering by Katherine May

Wainwright Prize Nature WritingWintering is a poignant and comforting meditation on the fallow periods of life, times when we must retreat to care for and repair ourselves. Katherine May thoughtfully shows us how to come through these times with the wisdom of knowing that, like the seasons, our winters and summers are the ebb and flow of life.

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