The Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing is organised by Canongate Books, 14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TE.
The competition is open to UK and Ireland residents only (except employees of Canongate and their immediate families, who are not allowed to enter). Entrants must be aged 18 or over.
The competition is open to previously unpublished writers who consider themselves underrepresented in nature writing:
Entrants must not have published full-length books of fiction or non-fiction with a trade publisher.
Entrants who have published books of poetry or children's books are eligible to enter.
Entrants who have published short pieces of writing (fiction or non-fiction) in magazines, books or journals, including poetry, essays, journalism or short stories, are eligible to enter.
Self-published authors are eligible to enter.
Writers who have previously held book contracts are eligible to enter.
Writers who have previously entered the Nan Shepherd Prize are eligible to enter, including those previously longlisted or shortlisted.
In their biographical note, entrants must include information on why they feel they are underrepresented within nature writing. This can include, but is not limited to, reasons of ethnicity, disability, class, sex, gender or sexuality. There is no upper age limit.
The winner will receive:
A £10,000 publishing contract with Canongate.
Editorial mentoring from Canongate.
An offer of representation from Rukhsana Yasmin at The Good Literary Agency, if the winner is not already represented by a literary agent.
Submissions must be sent between 6 August 2021 and 6 October 2021. No entries received before 6 August 2021 or after 6 October 2021 will be accepted.
Each submission should contain:
A one-page synopsis of the book, followed by outlines of every chapter. The book need not be completed before submission, but the idea being proposed should be narrative non-fiction and deal with nature or the environment in some form.
A sample chapter or chapters totalling no more than 7,000 words.
A biographical note, including information on why the entrant feels underrepresented in nature writing, and any relevant information such as previously published short works or poetry, agent details, social media accounts, literary prizes won or nominated for etc. This should be no longer than 500 words and should be pasted into the body of the email.
Each submission should follow these instructions:
In the email subject, entrants should include their name and the title of their submission. In the body of the email, entrants should provide their full name, address and contact phone number as well as the biographical note and the total number of pages they have submitted.
The submission must be typed and saved in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format; all documents must be submitted at the same time and attached to a single email. The chapters of the manuscript are to be supplied in one document. All submissions should include page numbers.
The attachments should be clearly individually marked as ‘synopsis and outline’ and ‘sample chapters’. Each document should be marked in the file name with the author’s name and the title of the work and this information should be marked on every page of each document.
Submissions need to be within the nature writing genre; narrative non-fiction; written in English; not have been previously published/self-published; of the entrant’s own creation; and exclusive to this competition.
Submissions that do not meet requirements of these Terms and Conditions will not be read and shall be excluded from the competition.
Any submission containing incorrect, false or unreadable information will be rejected.
Entrants should submit one entry only. There is no entry fee.
In entering the Nan Shepherd Prize entrants agree that, if they win, in order to receive their prize they will:
Enter into a contract with Canongate on its standard author agreement terms, with an advance on royalties of £10,000 (ten thousand pounds) for exclusive World volume, audio, eBook and serial rights.
If unrepresented already, be offered a contract to sign with The Good Literary Agency, on their standard terms.
In entering, the winner accepts that they will be contractually obliged to deliver a full book to Canongate no later than December 2022. As part of the contract the winning author must be:
Prepared to undertake editorial work.
Prepared to undertake publicity and promotional responsibilities.
In addition to the winner(s), the shortlistees may have the opportunity to discuss their work with an agent from The Good Literary Agency, who may choose to represent them but is not obliged to, and by entering the Nan Shepherd Prize all entrants agree to be contacted by Canongate and The Good Literary Agency.
The winner will be notified in November 2021. By entering this competition, all entrants are agreeing that if they win their name and image may be used for the purpose of announcing the winner in any related publicity with Canongate, without additional payment or permission.
The prize will be delivered to the winner in two instalments: on signature and on delivery and acceptance of the completed manuscript. The prize is non-refundable, non-transferable and no cash or prize alternatives are available.
There is no obligation on Canongate to publish any of the entrants in print or in eBook. Canongate reserves the right not to award the prize.
The judges’ decision is final; no feedback will be provided on entries.
Canongate will not be able to return any submissions, so make sure to keep a copy before you submit.
Any dispute relating to the competition shall be governed by Scottish law.
Canongate will not be responsible, unless required by law, for any loss, changes, costs or expenses which may arise in connection with this competition and can cancel or alter the competition at any stage.
If entrants have not heard from us by 31 October 2021, unfortunately they have not been shortlisted. Canongate will keep all information securely until this date at which point all personal information will be deleted and destroyed from our systems.
By entering the competition entrants are agreeing to accept these Terms and Conditions. Any breach of these Terms and Conditions will mean that entries will not be valid.