Sunday, February 14, 2021

Richard Jefferies (1848-1887) was an authority on agriculture and rural life. Best known for his nature writing, he was also an essayist, novelist and mystic. The Richard Jefferies Society (Registered Charity No 1042838) was founded in 1950 to promote appreciation and study of his writing. 

The main event is a spring lecture held in Liddington Village Hall in May along with the Annual General Meeting.  In response to the corona virus pandemic, all further meetings will take place by Zoom. 

Richard Jefferies Society publications include an annual Journal, spring and autumn newsletters, and an annual report along with leaflets and books by and about the author.  Andrew Rossabi (the Society's President) is writing the definitive biography of Richard Jefferies.  Volume I is an in-depth study of Jefferies' early years (published 2017).  Volume II covers the years of struggle from 1867-76 (published 8 July 2020). Volume III and IV will complete the years of maturity 1876-1887 (publication date to be announced). 

Richard Jefferies kept pocket notebooks from 1876 to two months before his death in 1887. There were at least twenty four but only sixteen of them are held in the archives of the British Library. The rest are in unknown private hands or lost and further information about them would be much appreciated. The contents of the known notebooks have been typed up and the document is available as a pdf document

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Shortlist announced: best nature-writing books published in 2020

The Richard Jefferies Society and the White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize is awarded annually to the author of the publication considered by the judging panel to be the most outstanding nature writing published in a given calendar year. The winning work must reflect the heritage and spirit of Richard Jefferies’ countryside books.


 The final short-list for 2020 publications was announced today as: 

·         Orchard. A Year in England’s Eden by Benedict Macdonald and Nicholas Gates.  [Collins]

·         Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty. [Little Toller]

·         The Consolation of Nature: Spring in the Time of Coronavirus by Michael McCarthy, Jeremy Mynott and Peter Marren. [Hodder]

·         The Swallow: A Biography  by Stephen Moss. [Square Peg]

·         Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake. [Bodley Head]

·         The Gospel of the Eels: A Father, a Son and the World’s Most Enigmatic Fish by Patrik Svensson. [Picador]

  The award was first introduced in 2015. Last year attracted an unprecedented number of nominations reflecting the increasing number of books dedicated to the natural world.

 Previous winners are: Gods of the Morning by John Lister-Kaye (2015), The Wood for the Trees by Richard Fortey (2016) The Seabird's Cry by Adam Nicolson (2017), Wilding by Isabella Tree (2018) and Rebirding by Benedict Macdonald (2019).

 The judging panel will meet in May to agree the overall winner of the £1000 prize. The winner will be announced on 24 May 2021.