White Horse Bookshop sponsors Richard Jefferies Society's nature writing prize
Marlborough's White Horse Bookshop has become the first sponsor of the Richard Jefferies Society's Prize for Outstanding Nature Writing in what the Society's Chairman called 'a very natural evolution'. The prize money has immediately been doubled.
Named after Wiltshire's celebrated and ground-breaking Victorian writer and naturalist, the Prize was first awarded in March this year. The winner was John Lister-Kaye for Gods of the Morning.
The son of a farmer, Jefferies was born at Coate near Swindon - the family's house is now the Richard Jefferies Museum. He worked as a journalist in Wiltshire and became a prolific and sensitive writer on nature, who stands in the tradition of writers concerned with man's relationship to the natural world.
He also wrote children's books (including the popular Bevis series), a philosophical and psychological autobiography titled The Story of My Heart, and one of the earliest science fiction books - the 'post-apocalyptic' novel After London.
Angus MacLennan, the bookshop's General Manager, announced that the prize will be awarded next Spring at ceremony in its new events room: “It is obvious from the breadth and quality of publishing I see represented on our shelves every day that we are in a golden age of nature writing. This, coupled with our location at the foot of the Marlborough Downs, an area Richard Jefferies wrote about, made sponsoring the Prize a very easy decision.”
John Price, Chairman of the Richard Jefferies Society, is thrilled to have found such a perfect sponsor so soon in the Prize’s life: "... it seems, fittingly, to be a very natural evolution. Richard Jefferies was a Wiltshire man and would have known the area well – I am sure he would thoroughly approve of our new sponsor and of the shop’s support of nature writing and writers.”
Submissions are now being accepted for the second Prize. The closing date is 31 December 2016. The Prize is open to nature writing of any length or in any format that is broadly consistent with the work of Richard Jefferies. Submissions may include first English translations and all entries must have been published, for the first time, within the calendar year.
MacLennan will join members of the Richard Jefferies Society council in selecting a shortlist which will be announced early in 2017. The prize was initiated through a legacy from John Webb, one of the Richard Jefferies Society's most active members, who died in 2014.
There is more about Richard Jefferies and the Museum on the Marlborough Road, Coate, Swindon at the Society's and the Museum's websites