Thursday, 15 July 2021

Shadowing a book prize for fun


The Wainwright Prize for UK Nature writing

In the past I have been part of 'official' book prize shadowing projects for what was the Foreign Fiction prize and also the Women's Prize for fiction and enjoyed the process a lot, shadowing means that for a short while you don't have to worry about what you've got to read next as there's a ready made list just waiting for you!

As I've really enjoyed so many of the books that fall under the umbrella I thought that this year I'd try to read all of the books nominated for the 2021 Wainwright Prize. On exploring their website I realised that they have more than one prize so I limited myself to 'just' the 13 books on the UK Nature Writing longlist which was announced in June:

Vesper Flights, Helen Macdonald,  Vintage

The Stubborn Light of Things: A Nature Diary, Melissa Harrison, Faber

Seed to Dust, Marc Hamer, Vintage

The Screaming Sky, Charles Foster, Little Toller Books

English Pastoral: An Inheritance, James Rebanks, Penguin Press

Into The Tangled Bank, Lev Parikian, Elliott & Thompson

Thin Places, Kerri ní Dochartaigh, Canongate Books

Birdsong in a Time of Silence, Steven Lovatt, Penguin Press

I Belong Here, Anita Sethi, Bloomsbury Plc

Featherhood, Charlie Gilmour, Orion Publishing Group

The Circling Sky, Neil Ansell, Headline

The Wild Silence, Raynor Winn, Michael Joseph

Skylarks with Rosie, Stephen Moss, Saraband

My growing interest in this genre meant that I'd read two of the books before learning they were on the list and thus 11 books between June and 4th August didn't seem quite so overwhelming. I know that this statement sounds like I am mad but these books are such a soothing read at the moment that it sounds wonderful rather than stressful.

The mixed weather so far this summer has meant that sofa nature walks have often seemed more appealing than the actual activity and now that there's only three weeks until the shortlist is announced I feel that I really might get all the books finished - I've finished 8 and am about half way through number nine...

The side benefit of all this reading is that I am able to borrow so many of the books from the library either in physical or eBook editions, the ones I can't borrow are letting me continue to support independent publishers and bookshops as I acquire them!

Unlike other prizes that I've shadowed I am not at all falling out of love with the genre as I effectively binge read the subject. The books are all so varied that it is wonderful and not at all predictable I've definitely got my own favourites for ones I'd like to see on the shortlist!

Once the short list is out I'll start posting my reviews and thoughts on the books, but for now I am going to curl up on the sofa while listening to the bees on the honeysuckle that is just outside the window and making the front room smell lovely!

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