The Wainwright Prize 2016 – key dates and new developments

The Wainwright Prize is back to celebrate the best books on the outdoors, nature and UK travel with a refreshed timeline, returning judging panel and a new partnership with Countryfile Live.

First awarded in 2014 by Frances Lincoln, publishers of the Wainwright Guides, the £5,000 Wainwright Prize is now run independently by agile Ideas Ltd, and awarded annually in association with the National Trust to the work which successfully reflects renowned nature writer Alfred Wainwright’s core values of Great British writing and culture, and a celebration of the outdoors. 

The 2016 Wainwright Prize longlist: 

From a journey around the British Coastline to an account of living in the wild as various animals, a meditation on Britain in wet weather and a memoir plus reflections on the power of nature on self-discovery – the 2016 longlist demonstrates the increasing strength and diversity of nature and travel writing in the UK:

•    Being a Beast by Charles Foster (Profile Books)
•    Coastlines: The Story of Our Shore by Patrick Barkham (Granta)
•    Common Ground by Rob Cowen (Penguin Random House)
•    Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane (Penguin Random House)
•    Landskipping by Anna Pavord (Bloomsbury)
•    Rain by Melissa Harrison (Faber & Faber)
•    Raptor: A Journey Through Birds by James Macdonald Lockhart (HarperCollins)
•    The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury (Bloomsbury)
•    The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy (John Murray)
•    The Outrun by Amy Liptrot (Canongate)
•    The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks (Penguin Random House)
•    Weatherland: Writers & Artists Under English Skies by Alexandra Harris (Thames & Hudson)

The shortlist of six books will be announced on Thursday 30 June, while the winner will be revealed at the new Countryfile Live event at Blenheim Palace on Friday 5 August. The Wainwright Prize ceremony will take place at the National Trust Arena in front of a public audience of over 300 people. Highlights from the Live Festival will be shown on Countryfile (with an average reach of over 6.5million) during August. 

Dame Fiona Reynolds is the chair of a passionate and erudite panel of judges comprising of 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.

“It is a joy to have been asked to help judge The Wainwright Prize 2016. The quality and quantity of nature writing has enjoyed a noticeable resurgence in the UK, and the calibre of this year’s longlist reflects that wholeheartedly. With such exciting and varied titles, we now face a great challenge in selecting the shortlist, and eventually a winner that Alfred Wainwright would be proud of.”
— Julia Bradbury, Judge for 2016 & TV Presenter

Last year’s winner was Meadowland by John Lewis-Stempel – a poetic account of the life of a meadow from January to December. 

Wainwright Golden Beer, the iconic brand celebrating its namesake’s inspirational and determined approach to overcoming challenges has stepped up to sponsor the prize.