Marchelle Farrell – 2021 winner of the Nan Shepherd Prize

Marchelle Farrell


From an exceptionally strong shortlist, Marchelle Farrell’s Uprooting was named the 2021 winner of the Nan Shepherd Prize.

What is home? It is a question that has troubled Marchelle Farrell for her entire life.

Years ago, like so many of the Black diaspora, she left behind the pristine beaches and emerald hills of Trinidad. Now she moves again for the verdant, peaceful surroundings of the English countryside.

These relocations at first appear as opportunity. But when placed within the context of a worldwide pandemic, and ongoing racial protests, the trauma and upheaval of colonialism that have inexorably led her to this house and garden begin to be unearthed. Is this really home? And can she ever feel truly grounded here?

A psychiatrist and specialist in talking therapies, Marchelle attempts to unpack this complex and emotional question while she tends to her new garden. Through her care for the unusual – and often unlikely – flora and fauna that is contained within it, she discovers that her two apparently conflicting identities are far more intertwined than she had previously realised.

Full of hope and healing, Uprooting is a book that in troubled times and an unsettled world aims to find safety, stability and a sense of belonging in an English country garden

Marchelle Farrell is a gardener, writer and mother, born in Trinidad and Tobago, but having spent the last twenty years attempting to become hardy here in the UK. She has trained and worked as a consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist, and is deeply curious about the relationships between our external landscapes and internal ones, the patterns that are reenacted in the human relationship with the land, and how they might be changed. When not neglecting it for the care of her young children, or her work in the community, she spends much of her time getting to know her country garden in Somerset, and writing about the things the garden teaches her about herself.