Native by Patrick Laurie on Wainwright Shortlist

  30 Jul '20   |  Posted by: Birlinn


Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape by Patrick Laurie has made it onto the SHORTLIST for one of the most prestigious literary awards in the UK – the Wainwright Prize. We wish him every luck in this stage of the prize. The winner will be announced on 9 September but do you know what, getting on to the SHORTLIST is a tremendous achievement and as publisher we are already incredibly proud. Congratulations Patrick!

The announcement comes in the week the book was reviewed in the Geographical Magazine

He’s a keen observer, of nature and of the general ebb and flow of the world, and he writes with a seemingly effortless lyricism about what he sees… A charming evocation of the harsh realities of farming in the modern world, and the difficulties of marrying food production and conservation. 

In previous weeks it has been reviewed by the media right across the UK. Here are the highlights:

‘Brilliant and Beautiful… This is a book about a place you will probably have never visited: but you should read it nonetheless because what it says has a wider importance, about some of what we have got wrong in the way we respect nature and farming and what we might get right if we change our ways… it is also that most valuable of things, an escape to an open land where curlew still cry and the wind and rain cut in from the sea and city life feels a million miles away’

Evening Standard

‘[A] beautifully written memoir, a mesmerising account of a year of back-breaking labour, personal despair and piercing moments of joy… unforced and utterly authentic.’ FIVE STAR REVIEW

Mail on Sunday

‘A farmer with a poet’s eye is a rare thing indeed, and this is a rare breed of a book: an elegy to a vanishing landscape but one not without hope, and to be greatly treasured’

Daily Mail

‘Galloway, past and present, is the bedrock of this book, a granite foundation on which Laurie is to build his future… an unflinching account of what it takes to turn into a farmer, bearing callouses, bruises and scars…. moving as well as inspirational. This Galloway farm might be just one stamp in an album, but if a butterfly wing can cause a hurricane, what about a rampaging bull?’


‘Native is described as ‘a hymn of love to his native land’. It’s an apt description for a wonderful book… a poignant and thought-provoking read, I loved it’

‘Patrick Laurie’s neighbours looked on in amusement when he turned the clock back to follow his grandfather’s way of rearing cattle. But the old ways are paying off and he is now the proud owner of a thriving rare breed herd – and seen the return of threatened wildlife to his land’

Sunday Post

This is a book that should be on every bookshelf in the land. Don’t miss out on the book that everyone is talking about.

Last year’s winner of the Wainwright Prize was Underland by Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton). Previous winners include: The Seabird’s Cry, by Adam Nicolson (2018), The Outrun by Amy Liptrot (2016) and Meadowland by John Lewis-Stempel (2014).

The winner’s Prize Ceremony is set to take place on 9 September. As with all arts projects in the UK at present, these arrangements may be impacted by Covid-19. There are two categories for this prize: The Wainwright Prize for UK nature writing and The Wainwright Prize for writing on global conservation. When the winners are announced, £5,000 prize fund will be shared and presented to the authors of the winning books. The Wainwright Prize is awarded in association with the National Trust.

The Wainwright Prize was named after Alfred Wainwright, the author of the famous fell walking series, the Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. Created to celebrate nature-writing and encourage exploration of the Outdoors, it was initially conceived in 2014 by Frances Lincoln, publishers of the Guides. It has been administered ever since by the independent Literary Marketing Agency; AGILE.

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