The UK’s Wainwright Prize Names Three 2022 Winners

In News by Porter Anderson

The James Cropper Wainwright Prize is in its ninth year and focused on ‘the beauty of the natural world’ at a time of climate crisis.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Nature and Conservation Writing in Three Categories
Created to honor “books that celebrate the beauty of the natural world and offer hope for our planet,” the James Cropper Wainwright Prize is named for the late nature writer Alfred Wainwright (1907-1991) and in its ninth year carries a £7,500 purse (US$8,628) to be shared by the program’s three winning authors.

Each winner also receives a commissioned original piece by paper artist Helen Musselwhite.

The three categories and the winner of each, announced Wednesday (September 7) are:

James Aldred

Nature Writing

  • Winner: Goshawk Summer: The Diary of an Extraordinary Season in the Forest by James Aldred (Elliott & Thompson)
  • Commended: Otherlands: A World in the Making by Dr Thomas Halliday (Penguin Random House/Allen Lane) and On Gallows Down: Place, Protest and Belonging by Nicola Chester (Chelsea Green Publishing)

Dan Saladino

Writing on Conservation

  • Winner: Eating to Extinction: The World’s Rarest Foods and Why We Need to Save Them by Dan Saladino (Penguin Random House/Jonathan Cape)
  • Commended: Wild Fell: Fighting for Nature on a Lake District Hill Farm by Lee Schofield (Knopf/Doubleday)

Rob Sears, left, and Tom Sears (image: Claire Birch)

Children’s Writing on Nature and Conservation

  • Winner: The Biggest Footprint: Eight Billion Humans. One Clumsy Giant by Rob and Tom Sears (Canongate)
  • Commended: 2022 Yoto Carnegie Medal winner, October, October by Katya Balen, Illustrated by Angela Harding (Bloomsbury)

The prize was founded—and is still supported—by both the Alfred Wainwright Estate & Frances Lincoln, publisher of the Wainwright Guides.

The key sponsor, papermaker James Cropper, has made a multi-year commitment to the award. Having made papers for publishing, premium print, art, and luxury packaging since 1845 in the town in which Alfred Wainwright lived and worked, the partnership underpins the shared history and purpose of the two organizations.

Jurors for This Year’s Prizes

Nature Writing:
Ray Mears, chair and TV presenter 
Hugh Thomson, previous winning author 
Raynor Winn, twice-shortlisted author 
Craig Bennett, CEO, UK Wildlife Trusts 
Caroline Morris, bookseller 
Sanjida O’Connell, TV presenter and author 

Writing on Conservation:
Charlotte Smith, chair and TV presenter
Mark Cropper, chairman of James Cropper, Sustainable Paper Manufacturer
Anita Longley, former chair of ICRS
Lizzie Carr, children’s ECO blogger
Sir John Lawton, leading environmentalist
Harry Skeggs, wildlife photographer and blogger

Children’s Writing on Nature and Conservation:
Gemma Hunt, chair and TV presenter 
John McClay, children’s Literary Festival Director 
Mark Furnell, communication and campaign director, National Trust 
Tamara Macfarlane, bookseller 
Sara Davis, librarian 
Charlotte Morley, ethical children’s clothing manufacturer  

Previous Winners of the Wainwright Prize

2014:  The Green Road into the Trees: A Walk Through England by Hugh Thomson
2015:  Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field by John Lewis-Stempel
2016:  The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
2017:  Where Poppies Blow by John Lewis-Stempel
2018:  The Seabird’s Cry by Adam Nicholson
2019:  Underland by Robert Macfarlane
2020:  The Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty & Rebirding by Benedict Macdonald
2021:  English Pastoral by James Rebanks and Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake


In an aside for our Publishing Perspectives readers who find it exhilarating to live in times that are challenging, yes, but at least filled with strong political writing, we’ll just mention that Rob Sears of Stroud—co-author with Tom Sears of London of The Biggest Footprint—is also the author of both The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin: Life Coach, from Jamie Byng’s Canongate.

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 157th awards-related report published in the 166 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the National Book Awards in the United States is here and more on the huge field of international book awards and prizes is here. More from us on the United States’ market is here

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.