A biennial literary prize for underrepresented voices in nature writing

Submissions are now open! From 6  AUGUST–6 OCTOBER 2021

The Nan Shepherd Prize is a competition to find the next voice in nature writing. It aims not only to celebrate nature writing but provide an inclusive platform for new and emerging nature writers from underrepresented backgrounds.

The prize runs every two years and is currently OPEN for new submissions until 6 October 2021. The winner of the prize receives a book deal with Canongate – including editorial mentoring and an advance of £10,000. 

Click here to read our details of eligibility. Take a look at our resources designed to help break down the publishing process. We will be updating these resources throughout the submissions window and they will remain available.

The inaugural prize was launched in 2019 and found a brilliant winner in Nina Mingya Powles whose submission Small Bodies of Water the judges praised for its lyrical and poetic writing. The book published on 5 August 2021 and is available to buy now from all good bookshops. You can read more about 2019’s shortlisted and longlisted entries here.

Nan Shepherd is one of our most beloved authors and while her classic of nature writing The Living Mountain took three decades to first find a publisher, today the book is recognised as a masterpiece and Nan is inspiring a new generation of writers. We felt that a prize named after her was a fitting way to honour her legacy.

At Canongate, we have a track record of publishing great nature writing from established voices such as Annie Dillard, Rachel Carson and Nan Shepherd, of course, as well as launching new writers like Amy Liptrot, Kerri ní Dochartaigh, Charlotte Runcie, Alice Vincent and Nina Mingya Powles.

To be the first to hear more about the prize, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and sign up to the Canongate newsletter.

Read more about Nan Shepherd.

Find out more about Canongate.

The judges