Powerful, personal stories of self-discovery that celebrate a unique
connection with nature are the theme of many of the shortlisted titles, including Time on Rock which charts Anna Fleming’s journey from terrified beginner to confident lead climber, as climbing offers her a profound new way into the natural world. In The
Instant, 2016 Wainwright Nature Writing Prize winner Amy Liptrot leaves behind the quiet isolation of her beloved Orkneys for Berlin, meticulously charting the phases of the moon as she searches for love, new experiences and urban wildlife.
Whilst some of the shortlisted books in this category offer a new perspective on familiar, much-loved British landscapes, such as the New Forest of wildlife cameraman James Aldred’s Goshawk Summer and the North Wessex Downs of nature writer and school librarian Nicola Chester’s On Gallows Down, others explore wholly unfamiliar territory. Historian Matthew Green’s dazzlingly original Shadowlands examines the forgotten history of Britain’s lost cities, ghost towns and vanished villages, whilst award-winning young palaeobiologist Thomas Halliday’s Otherlands takes us even further back in time, showing us the Earth as it used to exist, and the worlds that were here before ours, to provide a mesmerising encounter with eras that are normally unimaginably distant.