Welcome to this newsletter in which I’ll share free (or very cheap) opportunities I’ve found for nature writers, recommend nature writing blogs and books, suggest nature-writing tips/prompts, and more…

This month’s updates:

  • Free online writing workshop. I’ll be in the inspirational company of author and Guardian Country Diarist, Anita Roy, for my next on-line nature-writing workshop on Saturday 16th October. Free tickets are available here. These workshops are made possible by National Lottery Funding through lovely & generous Arts Council England.
  • Submission for publication: Why you don’t you have a go submitting your nature writing to The Clearing, the online publication of Little Toller Books? Submission guidance can be found on the home page. I loved Alex Boon’s nature journal published on the site.
  • Competition (entry fee £7). Entries for the Gingko Eco-poetry Prize are open until 21 December 2021 and their twitter feed says a programme of free workshops will be shared soon…
  • Competition (entry fee £15). Still plenty of time to plan and research an essay for 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”. Entries close 15th Jan 2022.
  • Competition (free entry): Entries for the Green short stories competition close 21 February 2022 and they’re looking for 2000-5000 word stories which meet carefully defined criteria. There’s also a free green short stories workshop on 20 November 2021 at University of Southampton to give you some ideas.

This month’s Who to Read or Follow recommendations:

  • This month I’m reading Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders, which is the current book for the local nature-writing book club. (What a great idea! Why don’t you start one?) I’ve read it before – it’s set in the area of Dorset where I grew up – but it’s a joy to re-read Hardy’s wonderful and loving descriptions of nature in this part of the west country.
  • Hey Twitter users, I’d recommend following Lili KB for inspiring, honest and thought-provoking posts about the ups and downs of being a writer.

This month’s Nature-writing tips and prompts:

Stuck for nature-writing inspiration?  I spend a lot of time bird watching and botanising, and one thing that I know for certain is that those ‘special nature moments’ we read, often don’t happen. On the other hand, I almost always meet fascinating and generous nature enthusiasts. Why not have a go writing about the lovely nature people you’ve met in your travels?

Start adding to your knowledge of the nature around you today… October is the month to enjoy the weird and wonderful world of fungi, but it’s also a great time to look at the variety of galls which you can find on fallen leaves. They don’t only have great common names – spangle galls, Robin’s pincushions and knopper galls – these incredible structures are made by insects genetically engineering the plant’s tissues. Which has to be a big WOW! (.)

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

[This month’s picture is a collared earthstar fungus from my local patch.]