10th Anniversary Shortlist for the James Cropper Wainwright Prize Announced


Thursday 10th August 2023: The JAMES CROPPER WAINWRIGHT PRIZE, which was named after much-loved nature writer Alfred Wainwright and created to celebrate connection with nature and the outdoors – today announced its 2023 shortlists in three categories.

For the first time in the prize’s 10-year history, women dominate the shortlists, with 13 female authors – including Gaia Vincent, Katherine Rundell, Keggie Carew, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and M.G. Leonard – out of the 19 shortlisted.

11 of the 18 shortlisted books are from independent publishers, with Walker Books recognised for three titles, accounting for half of the Children’s Prize shortlist.

Established nature writers, including 2020 winner Dara McAnulty and 2017 shortlistee Stephen Moss, are shortlisted alongside acclaimed new voices Amanda Thomson, Sarah Langford and Elizabeth-Jane Burnett.

While confronting the reality of a world in crisis – from extreme weather to food insecurity, polluted oceans, and endangered species – and a clarion call for urgent action, the shortlisted books also offer solace and optimism, as well as radical solutions to heal our planet and ourselves through our connection with nature.

Authors on the Conservation shortlist were praised by judges for their ‘positive energy’ in exploring many of our deepest challenges as they offer pragmatic solutions for rewilding oceans and forests, reimagining our habitats and rethinking our relationship with nature.

The shortlistees come from a wide range of backgrounds both within and outside of environmental engagement; from TV presenters and charity workers to poets and visual artists, including a former criminal barrister, a comedian, and two husband-and-wife duos.

In the 10 years since the Prize’s inception, sales of books about the natural world have soared, with increased interest in the climate, the healing power of nature, and the extraordinary wild world around us. The shortlists celebrate this ‘golden age’ of nature writing.

The winning authors will share an increased prize pot of £10,000 to honour the Prize’s 10th anniversary.


The 2023 James Cropper Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing shortlist

  • The Flow: Rivers, Water and Wildness, Amy-Jane Beer (Bloomsbury)
  • Twelve Words for Moss, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett (Allen Lane)
  • Ten Birds that Changed the World, Stephen Moss (Faber)
  • A Line in the World: A Year on the North Sea Coast, Dorthe Nors, translated by Caroline Waight (Pushkin)
  • The Golden Mole: and Other Living Treasure, Katherine Rundell, illustrated by Talya Baldwin (Faber)
  • Belonging: Natural histories of place, identity and home, Amanda Thomson (Canongate)



The 2023 James Cropper Wainwright Prize for Writing on Conservation shortlist

  • Beastly: A New History of Animals and Us, Keggie Carew (Canongate)
  • Rewilding the Sea: How to Save Our Oceans, Charles Clover (Ebury)
  • Rooted: How Regenerative Farming Can Change the World, Sarah Langford (Viking)
  • Black Ops and Beaver Bombing: Adventures with Britain’s Wild Mammals, Fiona Mathews and Tim Kendall (Oneworld)
  • The Lost Rainforests of Britain, Guy Shrubsole (William Collins)
  • Nomad Century: How to Survive the Climate Upheaval, Gaia Vince (Allen Lane)



The 2023 James Cropper Wainwright Prize for Children’s Writing on Nature and Conservation shortlist

  • Protecting the Planet: The Season of Giraffes, Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton (Walker Books)
  • Blobfish, Olaf Falafel (Walker Books)
  • Spark, M. G. Leonard (Walker Books)
  • A Wild Child’s Book of Birds, Dara McAnulty, illustrated by Barry Falls (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • Leila and the Blue Fox, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston (Hachette Children’s Group)
  • Grandpa and the Kingfisher, Anna Wilson, illustrated by Sarah Massini (Nosy Crow)


This year’s judging panels are chaired by TV presenter Ray Mears (Nature), CEO of The Wildlife Trusts, Craig Bennett (Conservation) and National Trust’s Communication and Campaign Director, Mark Funnell (Children’s).


Mark Cropper, Chairman of James Cropper and a judge for the Writing on Conservation Prize says: “The James Cropper Wainwright Prize and its authors and books are all about trying to open peoples’ eyes to what’s happening in the world. Stories shared range from the wondrous to the deeply concerning and often back again, as solutions to many of our deepest challenges are explored.”


Mark Funnell, Chair of Judges for Children’s Writing on Nature and Conservation Prize, says:

“The sheer quality and diversity of titles shortlisted for this year’s James Cropper Wainwright Prize for Children’s Writing underline just how vibrant the writing and illustration are in this genre right now. There is something for everyone, from gripping novels, to deeply affecting stories, and informative non-fiction, all of which are inspiring and bring readers closer to the beauty and fragility of nature in today’s world.”


The winners of all three categories will be announced live on 14th September at the James Cropper Wainwright Prize 10th Anniversary Celebration, held in partnership with the Kendal Mountain Festival. This is the first time the James Cropper Wainwright Prize ceremony has been open to the public to watch the winners be announced live. Tickets are available from: https://tickets.kendalmountainfestival.com