The prize aims to 'burst the stereotype of what it means to be a nature writer and to celebrate the diversity of authentic voices in our country'
The Nature Writing Prize for Working Class Writers is returning for a second year, and has announced new sponsors: Octopus Publishing Group imprint Gaia Books and the National Trust.
Set up in 2020 by Natasha Carthew, the prize is free to enter, and encourages those who self-identify as working class to do so, whether they live in the country or towns and cities. The prize includes editorial feedback from Gaia Books, a stay with National Trust Holidays worth £500 along with a nature writing commission based on it, publication in the Countryman magazine, and a selection of Little Toller Books. Those wishing to enter should send send up to 1,000 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by 7 June.
Carthew's work is inspired by the natural world; her new collection of prose poetry Born Between Crosses (Hypatia Press), out this Thursday, explores the lives of rural working class women. She said: "It's important to me that this prize is accessible, breaking down barriers and providing a platform to celebrate the diversity that exists in nature writing, whether it's non-fiction, poetry, field notes, memoir or travelogue; celebrating nature whilst providing a platform for underrepresented writers. Nature writing exists because we as individuals want to understand our own engagement and our place within it. It decentralises us and reminds us that we are not the only focus or thing of importance on the planet."
Stephanie Jackson, publisher at Octopus Publishing Group, said: "Natasha's work to expand and extend the diversity of the nature writing community - finding new voices in a growing category that's such an enriching part of life for anyone who's able to be a part of it - is so important that we felt we had to find a way to support it. We're delighted to participate in the judging of this year's Nature Writing Prize for Working Class Writers, to collaborate with Natasha and the National Trust and to encourage writers keen to explore this vibrant genre and find their place within it."