The prize's orange-bellied parrot logo was designed by Bradley Trevor Greive
Peter Shepherd was unable to attend the presentation, but forwarded this acceptance speech to me:
I believe it can offer a lot. No, actually, I believe it can offer the world. Through the practice and teaching of nature writing I've discovered the importance of intimacy in this way of communicating with the world; of grace and courage and all those things that make good writing a yearning toward something fundamental and large; a search that drives every human heart.
Nature writing, I believe, is our best hope for a language of connection.
And that is because the connections it offers are those beyond the fences of industrial culture. Nature writing opens a space to listen to the larger spaces in which we are woven: skies, mountains, oceans, history and future, and the land itself. It suggests the possibility of listening in ways not just brain-based, but to the spiritual poetry of wonder.
Without losing the critical importance of the everyday poetry - children, laughter, this single rock, the colour and miracle of this particular fungus. The human commons. The earthly commons. Seeing neighbours despite how many legs they have or which end of their body they breathe out of.
And sharing the story of it.
Whatever you want to call it - nature writing, earthspeaking, or just plain writing or sharing - here is a call, as I see it, to reclaim our wild human heritage, to fling heartfelt poetic truths into the world around us in shapes and connections that the shallow plastic of industry-speak simply can't stand against. Without root and blood how could it? Without breath and a proffered paw, wing, hand and chirruping, sky-scaling song, what chance does it stand?
None, despite the sheer volume and effort of it. None, because it cannot stand eye to eye and heart to heart with one other and say, "I see you. I hear you. And I care."
Nature writing can. And, through rebellious spirits everywhere, will continue to deepen and expand, and reconnect with a song and language that has never been lost, but has merely been waiting for us to come home again.
I want to thank fellow conspirators: Island Magazine, Wildcare and