Adam Nicolson wins the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize with his love song to seabirds

Press release
Copy of The Seabird's Cry by Adam Nicholson
Published : 02 Aug 2018

The Seabird’s Cry by Adam Nicolson has today been announced as the winner of the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize, which celebrates the best books about nature and UK travel.

The Seabird’s Cry is a celebration of the wonders of seabirds, the only creatures at home in the air, on land and on the sea, but it also carries a stark warning about the rapid decline in seabird numbers. With numbers dropping by two thirds since the 1950s, Adam Nicolson suggests that the extinction of some species of seabirds within this century could be a very real possibility.

The announcement and presentation of the award of £5000 was made by Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove MP and BBC Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison at the National Trust Theatre at BBC Countryfile Live in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, at the end of a public event celebrating nature writing and the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize shortlist.

Chair of judges Julia Bradbury comments: “I am delighted that The Seabird’s Cry has won the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize; this outstanding book shows you the world through the eyes and lives of ten seabirds. Adam’s telling of the captivating stories and lives of these birds alongside insightful research is magnetic. You’ll wail aloud as you learn about their plummeting numbers and the wider implications of this tragedy.

The judges felt this was a truly worthy winner – a passionate book which celebrates the natural world in a way that will enthuse and delight nature lovers and book lovers alike. The aim of this prize is to enthuse and encourage people to get out in nature and appreciate it. The Seabird’s Cry is a unique plea that demonstrates the urgent need for us all to lessen the impact of human life on the natural world.

As usual the judging panel struggled to hone down the selection to just one book from such a strong long list but we also wanted to give special commendation to The Lost Words and The Salt Path, two beautiful books which will live long in the natural world category.”

Adam Nicolson is a prize-winning writer of many books on history, nature and the countryside and has presented many television series. In The Seabird’s Cry, a chapter is dedicated to ten different birds, each beautifully illustrated by Kate Boxer. Adam travels their ocean paths, fusing traditional knowledge with all that modern science has come to know about them: the way their bodies work, their dazzling navigational expertise, their ability to smell their way to fish or home, to understand the workings of the winds in which they live. He follows the seabirds to the coasts and islands of Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and the Americas.

Now in its fifth year, the shortlist for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2018 demonstrates the ongoing strength and diversity at the centre of this revived and popular genre, with books covering wider social, environmental and personal issues.

Joining The Seabird’s Cry on the shortlist were three books which chart a personal journey of discovery and the vital role that nature plays on that journey (Hidden Nature by Alys Fowler, The Salt Path by Raynor Winn and The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell), a celebration of words which are disappearing from 21st century children’s vocabulary as they become increasingly unfamiliar with the natural world (The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris), a social history of the greenbelt (Outskirts by John Grindrod) and a memoir of a childhood spent in and around nature (The Dun Cow Rib by John Lister-Kaye).

The Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize celebrates the books which most successfully reflect the ethos of renowned nature writer Alfred Wainwright’s work, to inspire readers to explore the outdoors and to nurture a respect for the natural world.Sitting alongside Julia on the judging panel for the 2018 prize were: TV presenter Megan Hine; Waterstones non-fiction buyer Bea Carvalho; National Trust publisher Katie Bond; chair of both Gardener’s Question Time and the Wainwright Society, Eric Robson; and ex-Chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Peter Waine.

The prize is supported by White Lion Publishing, publisher of the Wainwright Guides, Wainwright Golden Beer, the Wainwright estate and in partnership with the National Trust, the winner receives a cheque for £5000, a keg of Wainwright Golden Beer and a set of Wainwright Golden Beer glasses.

Bookshops and libraries are invited to enter the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize Display Competition. Tweet an image of our Wainwright Shortlist or Winner display before 31 August. The bookshop or library that puts on the winning display will win 10 National Trust Family Day Passes and 24 bottles of Wainwright Golden Beer. Full details and terms and conditions on the prize

For more information about the prize or to request an interview with Adam Nicolson, please contact Laura Creyke or Mark Hutchinson at MHM on or