The best of contemporary nature writing from the winners of the inaugural international Nature Chronicles Prize.
The Nature Chronicles Prize is a new biennial, international, English-language literary award founded to celebrate engaging, unique, essay-length non-fiction that responds to the time we are in and the world as it is. Conceived in 2020 to mark the global pandemic, the prize is also a memorial to Prudence Scott, a lifelong nature diarist who died in 2019.
Contained within this volume are the outstanding shortlisted entries for the inaugural prize. These winning works express diverse responses to our planet and its life, and together embody the best of contemporary nature writing, whether by emerging or established authors.
The anthology is introduced by bestselling nature writer Kathryn Aalto, who was one of the prize judges.
Kathryn Aalto is a New York Times best-selling writer of creative nonfiction focused on the natural world. An American living in the UK, her creative practice fuses nature and culture: teaching the literature of nature and place; designing beautiful and sustainable gardens; and writing about the natural world. She is the author of Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World (2020), The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood (2015), and Nature and Human Intervention (2011). A personal essayist and book reviewer, her work appears in Smithsonian Magazine, Outside, Sierra, Buzzfeed, Resurgence and the Ecologist.
Jenny Chamarette is a writer and research fellow in Arts and Media at the University of Reading. Her writing has been shortlisted for the Nature Chronicles and Fitzcarraldo essay prizes and longlisted for the Nan Shepherd Prize for underrepresented voices in nature writing.
Laura Coleman is a writer and an artist who lives in the Western Isles of Scotland. She has previously lived and worked in Bolivia, where she worked and cared for rescued wild animals with the NGO Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi for more than a decade. She is also the founder of ONCA, a Brighton-based arts charity that bridges social and environmental justice issues with creativity.
Ben Crane is a falconer, artist and a self-taught writer. He has travelled extensively learning how diverse cultures work with birds of prey in their localised environment. His writing and photography have appeared in a wide range of publications. He has published two books which have sold worldwide and been translated into three different languages.
Nicola Pitchford is a British immigrant living in Marin County, California, where she is President of the Dominican University of California. As well as being a leader, educator and scholar, she has published poetry and literary criticism and studied at Pomona College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the 2018 Rural Writing Institute.
Joanna Pocock is a writer currently living in London, who has been published in the UK, US and Canada, and had her work translated into French and Spanish. She writes for a variety of publications and teaches Creative Writing at the University of the Arts, London.
Neha Sinha is an award-winning conservation biologist, the head of Conservation and Policy at Bombay Natural History Society, BirdLife in India. She was chosen for the Australia-India Youth Dialogue as a 2022 delegate and was awarded by Sanctuary Nature Foundation for her service to wildlife.
"A richly layered reading experience [...] ..Not only did A Parable of Arable Land make us think deeply, but we had the sense that Prudence Scott might also have chosen it."
– on the winning essay by Nicola Pitchford, The Nature Chronicles Prize Judges
"A refreshing essay on queerness, sexuality, and love."
– on Jenny Chamarette's Q is for Garden, The Nature Chronicles Prize Judges
"So stylishly written that it could have been fiction [...] an essay about boundaries and relationships written in sharp and vivid imagery."
– on Laura Coleman's The Fence, The Nature Chronicles Prize Judges
"This unflinching essay has a hot, wild breath [...] a brisk, braided [that] transports readers."
– on Ben Crane's The Flight of the Goshawk, The Nature Chronicles Prize Judges
"This gritty essay is about displacement, loss, and overconsumption in the desert ecosystem of Las Vegas [...] finds solace in knowing what does belong."
– on Joanna Pocock's None of This Should Be Here, The Nature Chronicles Prize Judges
"Neha Sinha brought a vital global perspective, putting the pandemic at the heart of the story and graphically revealing the different ways it was experienced."
– on City of COVID Trees, The Nature Chronicles Prize Judges