The Wainwright prize

Prize Overview

The prize was created in Alfred Wainwright’s name to showcase the growing genre of nature-writing in publishing and to celebrate and encourage exploration of the outdoors to all readers. It was initially conceived in 2013 by Frances Lincoln, publishers of Alfred Wainwright’s guides. It has been administered ever since by the independent Literary Marketing Agency; Agile.

The Prize Director is Founder and Creative Director of Agile; Alastair Giles.

Alfred Wainwright

The Wainwright Prize was named in honour of; Alfred Wainwright, the author of the famous fell walking series; the Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. Published by Frances Lincoln, an imprint of Quarto publishing Group, the fell guides were published between 1955 & 1966 and became the standard reference work to 214 of the fells of the English Lake District.

AW (as he liked to be known) died in 1991 but all of the guides remain in print and extremely popular to this day.


Over previous years it has been largely funded by sponsors: Thwaites, Marston Brewery (who produced the ‘Wainwright Golden Beer’ brand), the Alfred Wainwright Estate and the Quarto Group. The publicity and promotional campaign for the prize is self-financed by promotional levies from publishers with shortlisted titles.

As of 2021, the prize is now sponsored by James Cropper PLC

The prize is project managed by Agile in association with The National Trust and with promotional support from; BBC Countryfile Live, The Outdoor Guide, The Wainwright Society and many others.

The Prize Categories

There are now two categories of the prize and they are awarded to the work which best reflects Wainwright’s core values and include a celebration of nature and our natural environment, or a warning of the dangers to it across the globe. Explore them both below.

For UK Nature Writing

For Writing On Global

Featured Illustrator

Dorien Brouwers

We are honoured to introduce this years’ featured artist and illustrator: Dorien Brouwers. Her fresh and fluid illustrations are composed to inject life into the prizes’ aesthetic through an evocative combination of colour, texture and rich palette of the world’s flora and fauna.

Dorien Brouwers Wainwright Featured Illustrator

Keep your eyes and mind open

“Mother nature is the best designer and should be an inspiration to us all. It is wonderful to be using my creativity for a prize that encourages more people to love and protect our home”

Dorien grew up in the Netherlands, and moved to the UK when she was 21, where she trained as a graphic designer. She now lives in the countryside with her family, working as an illustrator and picture book author. Her extensive and ever-growing portfolio includes clients such as Hachette Book Group, Tate Modern, Pearson Education and the Prado Museum.

Explore a few samples from Dorien’s fantastic portfolio below.