Welcome to this newsletter in which I’ll share opportunities I’ve ferreted out for nature writers, recommend blogs and books, suggest nature-writing tips/prompts and more…

This month’s updates:

  • In-person poetry and nature workshops. These sound great! Two free workshops led by Michelle Mangal (lecturer at London Metropolitan University) in Walthamstow, east London, on 11 July 2021. Michelle describes herself as “a playwright and poet born in Islington but creatively raised in Hackney”. Tickets are available here.
  • Open for submissions. The Willowherb Review is still accepting submissions for the next issue until 30th June. They’re interested in fiction, non-fiction and poetry on the subject of nature, place and the environment and the full submission guidelines are here.
  • Competition. There’s a long lead-in to the prestigious Nature Chronicles Prize which is looking for “engaging, unique, essay-length non-fiction that responds to the time we are in and the world as it is, challenging established notions of nature writing where necessary”. Costing £15, entries close 15th Jan 2022.
  • Online writing workshops. After lots of fun running a online nature-writing workshop on June 19th in partnership with emerging nature writer and BBC Springwatch star Chantelle Lindsay, I’m already looking forward to the August workshop with my pal and co-lead Billie Ballard. Billie is an inspirational and quirkily-entertaining writer about nature, travel, mental health issues, and much more. The finalised date and ticket link will be in July’s newsletter. These workshops are made possible by National Lottery Funding through Arts Council England.

This month’s Who to Read or Follow recommendations:

  • This month I’m reading Ruth Miller’s and Alan Davies’ book The Biggest Twitch. I’m really enjoying getting to know Ruth and Alan as they race around the world on a hectic quest to see as many birds as possible. As well as writing they lead bird-watching tours and I’m hoping to sign up, one of these days. Ruth is a fellow writer for Bird Watching Magazine and is both a readable and thoughtful writer and has been supportive of my bird writing.
  • Twitter users, I’d recommend following flash-writing specialist El Rhodes. El shares her writing journey in a wonderfully frank and humorous way, and I find her tweets are just the thing to inspire me when my writing’s flagging.

This month’s Nature-writing tips and prompts:

Stuck for June/July nature-writing inspiration?  Water, water everywhere… How about spending some time writing by a river or lake? The impact of watery spaces on our wellbeing is well established and “blue prescribing” is being used at Wildfowl & Wetland Trust’s centre at Slimbridge to help people experiencing mental health issues.

Start adding to your knowledge of the nature around you today. Do you remember having fun poking about in rock-pools as a child? For an island nation, its sad how little some of us – including me! – know about coastal nature. Let’s take some identification books on holiday with us this year, and start connecting with our ‘inner islander’.

And… please send me anything you’d like to be included in next month’s newsletter.