2016 shortlist of best nature and travel writing announced

Wainwright Prize book winners
Published : 27 Jun 2016 Last update : 30 Jun 2016

We've teamed up with publisher Frances Lincoln, to bring you The Wainwright Prize 2016, an annual award to celebrate the best UK nature and travel writing.

The prize awards £5,000 to the work that best reflects renowned nature writer Alfred Wainwright’s core values of celebrating the great British outdoors.

This year’s shortlist draws a spotlight on the continued resurgence of nature and travel writing in the UK and the staggering breadth of personal issues explored through the genre.

The six shortlisted titles:

Common Ground by Rob Cowen (Windmill): Cowen describes his journey into parenthood set within his exploration of a square-mile of Yorkshire woodland.

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot (Canongate): The author recounts her experience of alcoholism and recovery explored through her wild Orkney homeland.

Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane (Penguin): MacFarlane's second shortlisting with his meditation on words and landscape.

The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy (John Murray): A moving memoir of childhood trauma that offers a rallying cry for protecting our environment.

The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury (Bloomsbury): Tells the story of a life spent walking Britain’s glittering rivers.

The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks (Penguin): An account of life as a shepherd in the Lake District.

The judging panel

The prize is judged by a panel comprised of chair Dame Fiona Reynolds; Julia Bradbury, TV presenter; Sally Palmer, publisher of National Trust Magazine; Bill Lyons, executive producer of Coast & Countryfile;  Dan Lewis, Marketing Manager of Stanfords; and Fergus Collins, editor of Countryfile Magazine. Assisting in the judging process are Eric Robson and Jane King from The Wainwright Society.

Dame Fiona Reynolds, chair of judges and our former director-general said: 'We are thrilled to present a shortlist of books that so wonderfully showcases the great breadth and depth of work inspired by our natural world. Our landscape has never been more challenged by change and in very different ways these books remind us of the important role the natural world plays in our personal lives. Each book here provides a unique and uplifting discovery of some aspect or part of the UK, while gifting us with profound and moving experiences. Alfred Wainwright would be very pleased indeed.'

Previous winners of the prize include Meadowland by John Lewis-Stempel (2015) and The Green Road into Trees: A Walk Through England by Hugh Thomson (2014).

The winner will be announced on Friday 5 August at the National Trust Area at BBC Countryfile Live.

The presenters of BBC Countryfile

Book your BBC Countryfile Live tickets 

Join us at BBC Countryfile Live this August, 4-7, to see the winner of the Wainwright Prize announced as well as live talks from Ray Mears, Will Self and Martha Kearney.