The winners of the 2022 James Cropper Wainwright Prize were announced at a ceremony at the London Wetland Centre this afternoon.

The ceremony included panel discussions with the shortlistees across all three award categories: Nature Writing; Writing on Conservation and Children’s Writing on Nature and Conservation, before the winners were announced by their respective Chairs of Judges, TV presenters Ray Mears, Charlotte Smith and Gemma Hunt.

The 2022 James Cropper Wainright Prize Winners Are:

For Nature Writing:

Winner - Goshawk Summer: The Diary of an Extraordinary Season in the Forest by James Aldred 

James Aldred, a wildlife cameraman who has collaborated with David Attenborough, won the Nature Writing Prize for his acutely observed lockdown nature diary, Goshawk Summer. Commissioned to film the lives of a family of goshawks in the New Forest at the start of 2020, Aldred was granted permission to stay when lockdown struck, offering him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the ancient forest at an ‘extraordinary time’ - empty of people, but filled with new life. Against the backdrop of fragility and fear in the wider world, Aldred captures, in minute detail, the day-to-day drama in an avian predator’s nest, celebrating the wonder of the natural world and inspiring readers to explore and protect the nature on their own doorsteps.

Chair of Judges, TV presenter Ray Mears commented:

"There was a stunning collection of books to choose from on our shortlist. So much so, that we felt compelled to highly commend not one but two great books. In the end we decided to hand the prize to a beautiful inspirational tale set in an extraordinary time. Nature is abundant all around us, if only we could take the time to REALLY look for it. This wonderful book shows us how."

Highly Commended:

Otherlands: A World in the Making by Dr Thomas Halliday

On Gallows Down: Place, Protest and Belonging by Nicola Chester

For Writing on Conservation:

Winner - Eating to Extinction: The World’s Rarest Foods and Why We Need to Save Them by Dan Saladino 

BBC Radio 4 Food Programme presenter Dan Saladino’s "highly original," radical and hopeful investigation into food biodiversity, is the result of fifteen years of research. Saladino examines the past, present and future of food through edibles that are at risk of vanishing forever, offering "enormous insight" into where our food comes from. Explaining why diversity matters for food security, our health, for local economies and for the future of the planet, this book is a rallying cry for reclaiming genetic biodiversity before it is too late.

Charlotte Smith, Chair of Judges and BBC Countryfile presenter commented:

"Our winner is encyclopaedic in scope, the result of a staggering fifteen years of research. We felt it was at turns; highly original, engrossing, fascinating & very clever. It offered enormous insight into where food comes from on a global level and offers clear, gently expressed solutions - it gave us enormous hope for the future"

Highly Commended - Wild Fell: Fighting for Nature on a Lake District Hill Farm by Lee Schofield 

To read more about the The Biggest Footprint: Eight Billion Humans. One Clumsy Giant by Rob and Tom Sears which won the inaugural Children's Prize for Children's Writing on Nature and Conservation, visit our feature on LoveReading4Kids.

Now in its nineth year, the Prize is named after much-loved nature writer Alfred Wainwright and is awarded annually to the books which most successfully inspire readers to explore the outdoors and to nurture a respect for the natural world. A £7,500 prize fund will be shared by the authors of the three winning books, with each receiving a specially commissioned original artwork by paper artist, Helen Musselwhite.