Submissions are now open for The Nature Conservancy’s sixth biennial Nature Writing Prize – which promotes and celebrates the art of nature writing in Australia as well as encouraging a greater appreciation of Australia’s magnificent landscapes.
This year, the Prize judges are esteemed literary critic Geordie Williamson and winner of both the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Award – Tara June Winch. They will award the prize to an Australian writer whose entry is judged to be of the highest literary merit and which best explores their relationship and interaction with some aspect of the Australian landscape.
The Prize will award $7,500 to the author of an essay between 3,000 and 5,000 words in the genre of “Writing of Place”. This year, a new aspect of the Prize will also include the Rosina Joy Buckman Award – a two-week residency at Life at Springfield in the New South Wales Southern Highlands for one highly commended writer.
The Nature Conservancy Australia Nature Writing Prize has been made possible by the generous support of the McLean Foundation, which promotes and celebrates the literature of nature and literature in nature in Australia. The 2021 Prize will include the Rosina Joy Buckman Award for a highly-commended recipient – it’s a two-week residency generously donated by Life at Springfield.
Past winners have included Annamaria Weldon, who won the inaugural prize for her piece Threshold Country – which the judges described as “a marvelously orchestrated, complex meditation on belonging. It is at once assured and yet gently voiced.”
The second biennial prize was awarded to Stephen Wright for his essay Bunyip – which explored the culture and fate of Indigenous communities and early European settlers as they navigated the landscape of south east Queensland.
Victorian author Nick Gadd won the third prize for his essay A landscape of stories – a reflection on walking through the industrial landscapes of Melbourne and the fresh ways of seeing an unplanned or unfamiliar route can create.
The 2017 prize was awarded to Sophie Cunningham for her essay Biyala Stories – a beautiful account of the natural and social history of the red gums and waterways of Melbourne’s landscape that serves as an eloquent reminder of the degree to which the survival of the trees and the rivers is connected to our own.
The 2019 prize awarded two winners: Jenny Sinclair’s An Orchard For My Father – a lyrical and personal essay that leaves us with a sense of bittersweet hope in the smallness of our human selves, and Sue Castrique’s On the Margins of the Good Swamp – which turns its focus onto urban or disturbed landscapes and reflects on how water wilfully asserts an ancient topography even in the heart of the city.
Australian writers (aged 18 and over) are encourage to submit their essay by Friday, 19 February 2021. Prize recipients will be announced in May 2021. For more information, visit: www.natureaustralia.org.au for details.
Image: Ben Goode, Adelaide Hills movement – courtesy of The Nature Conservancy Australia