A New Award for Nature Writing

Welcome to the Nature Chronicles Prize, a new biennial, international, English-language literary award. Our aim is to find engaging, unique, essay-length non-fiction that responds to the time we are in and the world as it is, challenging established notions of nature writing where necessary.

The winner will receive £10,000 and five runners up £1,000 each. All six winning entries will be published in an anthology.

About Us

The prize was conceived to mark the global pandemic and serve those who have witnessed this. It is also a memorial to Prudence Scott, a lifelong nature diarist who died in 2019. Her Trust is the prize’s sponsor.

For the inaugural 2022 prize, and every future award, it is hoped that the result will be a book of surprising works that vary in style but share a commitment to truth and fellow feeling.

Entry Criteria

The competition is open to any work of non-fiction prose between 2,000 and 8,000 words long on a topic the writer considers to be contemporary nature writing.

It is for work originating in the English language.

Pieces will be judged anonymously and must not have been published, self-published or accepted for publication in print or online. Essays, standalone extracts from unpublished books, and diaries may all be submitted.

The entry fee is £15 per submission, which will include a copy of the resulting anthology – in ebook form for non-uk entries.

Key Dates

15th June 2021 – Open for Submissions
Submissions close – 15th January 2022
Announcement of Longlist – 1st August 2022
Announcement of Shortlist – 1st September 2022
Prize giving event and publication of anthology – Mid November 2022 (tbc)

The judges

Kathryn Aalto

Kathryn Aalto

Kathryn Aalto is an American historian, designer, speaker, and author living in Exeter. She has written three books including Nature and Human Intervention (2011), the New York Times bestseller The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood (2015), and Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World (2020). She is a regular contributor to publications including Outside, SIerra and Smithsonian Magazine, and is co-founder of the Rural Writing Institute.

Elizabeth Jane Burnett

Elizabeth Jane Burnett

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett is an author and academic whose creative and critical work has a largely environmental focus. Her publications include the Sunday Times Poetry Book of the Year Swims (2017), the forthcoming collection Of Sea (2021), and the monograph A Social Biography of Contemporary Innovative Poetry Communities: The Gift, the Wager and Poethics (2017). Her nature writing memoir The Grassling: A Geological Memoir (2019) was a winner of the Penguin Random House WriteNow award. She is Associate Professor in Creative Writing at Northumbria University.

Matthew Cobb

Matthew Cobb

Matthew Cobb is a professor of zoology at the University of Manchester, where his research focuses on the sense of smell, insect behaviour and the history of science. He is also a reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement, and has translated five books on popular science and science history from French into English. His acclaimed book The Idea of the Brain has been shortlisted for the 2020 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction.

Sara Hunt

Sara Hunt

Sara Hunt worked in publishing in London and New York before founding award-winning independent publisher Saraband in 1994, specialising in narrative non-fiction – particularly in place and life writing – and literary fiction. Originally from Lancashire, she has a lifelong connection with the Lake District. Saraband has published Wainwright Prize-listed nature titles, as well as award-nominated and winning books in the Booker, Rathbones Folio, Saltire Society, Lakeland, Highland and Portico prizes. Saraband provides a platform for underrepresented voices from all parts of the UK and internationally.

Dr Will Smith

Dr Will Smith

Will Smith is a bookseller at Grasmere’s Sam Read’s and an academic whose book reviews feature monthly in Cumbria Life and on BBC Radio Cumbria. He is a lecturer in Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling and holds a doctorate in Canadian Literature from the University of Nottingham. In 2019 he co-edited a poetry anthology, Companions of Nature, and Lakeland Book Award-winning Grasmere: A History in 55½ Buildings. He was a judge of the 2019 Costa Book Awards.

From the Baillie Gifford 2020 judges, insights into the judging process and the very notion of non-fiction itself [first streamed on 15 October 2020]

News / Events / Updates

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