The winners of the much-loved Wainwright Prize for UK Nature Writing and for Global Conservation Writing have been announced at a live award ceremony on Tuesday 7 September, at the London Wetland Centre. The award winners are English Pastoral by James Rebanks and Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake.
Named after nature writer Alfred Wainwright, the prizes are awarded to the work which best reflects Wainwright’s core values and includes a celebration of nature and our natural environment, or a warning of the dangers to it across the globe. Still in the midst of recovering from the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic and with our landscapes under threat, nature writing has flourished. Now in its eighth year, the prize is awarded annually to the books which most successfully inspire readers to explore the outdoors and to nurture a respect for the natural world.
The two shortlists reflect the breadth and range of contemporary nature writing both in the UK and around the world. The titles selected showcase a diverse group of writers and celebrate the wonder and awe of green spaces and nature’s creatures through the prism of the author’s lives.
About English Pastoral by James Rebanks:
As a boy, James Rebanks’s grandfather taught him to work the land the old way. Their family farm in the Lake District hills was part of an ancient agricultural landscape: a patchwork of crops and meadows, of pastures grazed with livestock, and hedgerows teeming with wildlife. And yet, by the time James inherited the farm, it was barely recognisable. The men and women had vanished from the fields; the old stone barns had crumbled; the skies had emptied of birds and their wind-blown song.
English Pastoral is the story of an inheritance: one that affects us all. It tells of how rural landscapes around the world were brought close to collapse, and the age-old rhythms of work, weather, community and wild things were lost. And yet this elegy from the northern fells is also a song of hope: of how, guided by the past, one farmer began to salvage a tiny corner of England that was now his, doing his best to restore the life that had vanished and to leave a legacy for the future.
This is a book about what it means to have love and pride in a place, and how, against all the odds, it may still be possible to build a new pastoral: not a utopia, but somewhere decent for us all.
Order your copy online here.
About Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake:
The smash-hit Sunday Times bestseller that will transform your understanding of our planet and life itself.
The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them. They can change our minds, heal our bodies and even help us avoid environmental disaster; they are metabolic masters, earth-makers and key players in most of nature’s processes. In Entangled Life, Merlin Sheldrake takes us on a mind-altering journey into their spectacular world, and reveals how these extraordinary organisms transform our understanding of our planet and life itself.
‘Dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing’ Robert Macfarlane
Order your copy online here.