An annual prize of £1,000 will be awarded for writing on themes or topics broadly consistent with the work of Richard Jefferies. It has to be published (not re-published) within the calendar year. First English translations of works are eligible. E-books are excluded from the award.
Nominations may be made by anyone including publishers. Publishers are requested to send a copy of the nominated book to:
Richard Jefferies Society, c/o Valezina, 112 Westerfield Road, Ipswich, IP4 2XW.
Richard Jefferies Society, c/o Granham West, Granham Hill, Marlborough, SN8 4DN.
Decisions about the Prize will be made by the Society's Executive Council and a representative of the White Horse Bookshop. Their decision will be final. The right not to make an award in a given year is reserved. The short-list is drawn up in February and the winner should be announced by June.
The closing date for nominations is 1 December. Please send your nominations by email as early as possible and include covering information. Late nominations will not be accepted. Please note that nominations can be made from January and it would be much appreciated if publishers submit titles as soon as possible after the book is published.
An unprecedented number of nominations were received in 2019, marking the increasing interest in and concern for the natural world. The final short list was drawn up and announced on 16 January.
The Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand, (William Collins).
Incredible Journeys by David Barrie, (Hodder and Stoughton).
The Nature of Spring by Jim Crumley, (Saraband).
On the Marsh by Simon Barnes, (Simon and Schuster).
Rebirding by Benedict MacDonald (Pelagic Publishing).
Working with Nature by Jeremy Purseglove (Profile Books).
The judging panel will meet in June 2020 to agree and announce the overall winner.
The White Horse Bookshop has pledged to plant a tree for every book sale from the short-list from their shop in Marlborough until the announcement is made.
2018 winner: Isabella Tree - Wilding: the Return of Nature to a British Farm
The judges voted on 16 May 2019 to award the prize to Isabella Tree. The appeal of this book was summed up by one of the judges saying that it was a publication that Richard Jefferies himself would have strongly supported.
The short-list was agreed on 13 January 2019 as follows:
· Kings of the Yukon: an Alaskan river journey by Adam Weymouth, (Particular Books)
· The Bumblebee Flies Anyway by Kate Bradbury (Bloomsbury Wildlife)
· Wilding by Isabella Tree (Picador)
· Our Place, by Mark Cocker (Jonathan Cape)
Isabella Tree gave an illustrated talk about her prize-winning book at St Mary's Church, Marlborough to a capacity audience of 180 people on Thursday 25 July 2019 (the hottest day of the year) and was then presented with her award by Barry Sloan, Chair of the Richard Jefferies Society.
2017 winner: Adam Nicolson - The Seabird's Cry
On 11 June 2018, the Richard Jefferies Society and the White Horse Bookshop announced that the winner of the annual Writer's Prize was Adam Nicolson for The Seabird's Cry, published by William Collins. John Price, Chairman of The Richard Jefferies Society, said: ‘It is ambitious, topical and original, and written throughout in an engaging and appealing style. It was easily the most readable, moving and sophisticated of all the short-listed books.’
The shortlist was agreed on 3 February 2018 was as follows:
· Beyond Spring by Matthew Oates published by Fair Acre Press
· A Sweet Wild Note by Richard Smyth published by Elliott and Thompson
· Waiting for the Albino Dunnock by Richardson Rosamond published by the Orion Publishing Group
· The Seabird’s Cry by Adam Nicolson published by William Collins
· The January Man by Christopher Somerville published by Penguin Random House
Adam Nicolson, 4 August 2018
White Horse Bookshop
Presentation of award.
2016 winner: Richard Fortey - The Wood for the Trees
The short-list was:
· The Nature of Autumn, by Jim Crumley, published by Saraband.
· The Running Hare, by John Lewis-Stempel, published by Doubleday.
· Six Facets of Light, by Ann Wroe, published by Jonathan Cape.
· Walking Through Spring, by Graham Hoyland, published by William Collins.
· The Wood for the Trees, by Richard Fortey, published by William Collins.
At an event at The White Horse Bookshop on 3 June 2017, the prize was awarded to British palaeontologist, natural historian, writer and broadcaster Richard Fortey and best met the criterion of reflecting themes or topics broadly consistent with Jefferies’ writing.
John Price, Chairman of the Richard Jefferies Society said: “With a strong sense of place in Fortey's recording of the passage of the year in the woodland, we felt that the book was a worthy successor to Jefferies' writing.”
Angus Maclennan, Manager of The White Horse Bookshop added: “In this golden era for nature writing we are delighted to award Richard Fortey for his intimate portrait of our environment and our place within it. It strikes the perfect balance between science and sensibility.”
2015 winner: John Lister Kaye - Gods of the Morning
The short-list was:
· Common Ground, by Rob Cowen, published by Hutchinson;
· Gods of the Morning, by John Lister-Kaye, published by Canongate;
· The Moth Snowstorm, by Michael McCarthy, published by John Murray.
The final decision of the Panel was that the prize should be awarded to John Lister-Kaye (pictured left), for Gods of the Morning.
This book was felt to be lyrically written, with a true naturalist’s eye for the changing seasons and times of day; the hardships experienced by man and beast in the harshest winters; and his own personal encounters with a wide range of wildlife from ravens to young spiders. The extensive studies of rooks – (from the bathroom of Lister-Kaye's house!) – reminded the judges of Richard Jefferies' observations on the same species; observations brought together into one book by an enterprising publisher. Gods of the Morning is a book by a man who is as familiar with his local Scottish wildlife and countryside as Richard Jefferies had been with his Wiltshire local environment; and both authors also had the ability to describe some of the local human population in deft terms. An outstanding first winner of the Richard Jefferies Society Writers’ Prize, Lister-Kaye is able to convey the joy of nature in an uncomplicated and eloquent fashion.