Cumbria has provided both the winner and a new sponsor for one of the UK’s most prestigious literary prizes.
The UK Nature Wainwright Prize rewards writing inspired by the general outdoors, nature, travel and conservation.
This week it was announced that Matterdale sheep farmer James Rebanks had won the UK Nature Writing award for his book English Pastoral.
In it, James tells the story of how rural landscapes around the world have been brought close to collapse, and the age-old rhythms of work, weather, community and wild things are being lost. It illustrates what it means to have love and pride in a place, and how, against all the odds, it may still be possible to build a new pastoral.
Julia Bradbury, judging chair, said: “His message of respect for the old ways and understanding of the complexities of farming for the future make this a really important book.
“The writing is accessible, heartfelt, and poignant and it conveys a message of achievable change. Rebanks’ passion will carry any townie through the joy and hardship of fell farming. It’s seminal work which will still be celebrated in 50 years.”
James’s win coincides with the announcement that Kendal-based paper manufacturer James Cropper has signed a three-year headline sponsorship of the Wainwright Prize.
Founded over 175 years ago, the company produces papers for publishing, premium print, art and luxury packaging, In 2005 it produced a custom-made paper, matching the paper from the first editions, for the 50th Anniversary Wainwright pictorial guides.
Marketing director Richard Bracewell said: “Being based in the Lake District ourselves, we are of course delighted that James Rebanks’ English Pastoral has won this year’s prize for UK Nature Writing. James writes eloquently and passionately about his farm and the surrounding beautiful landscape which inspires us all.
“Having produced bespoke book papers since 1845, including for Alfred Wainwright’s wonderful Pictorial Guides of the Lake District, we are very proud to now be sponsoring the Wainwright Prize, celebrating the very best of today’s writing on nature and conservation.”