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:

  • Last chance Free online writing workshop. I’m partnering with fab writer and photographer, Rebecca Gibson, for my next on-line nature-writing workshop on Saturday 18th December. Free tickets are available here until midnight tomorrow Thursday 16th December. These workshops are made possible by National Lottery Funding through lovely & generous Arts Council England. You can catch up on previous workshops on my Youtube channel.
  • last chance Competition (entry fee £7). Entry for the Gingko Eco-poetry Prize is open until NEW DATE 31 January 2022.
  • still time Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival Poetry Competition (£5 entry per poem) on the theme of Hope in Nature with a closing date of 9 January 2022.
  • still time 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 15 January 2022.
  • date for your diary I’m busy planning a Nature Readings Event to take place on Saturday 29 January 2022. More details to follow.
  • still time Competition (entry 6 euros) 250 words on the theme of Walking Home. Entries close 31 January 2022.
  • still time 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.
  • new The Fable Competition (free entry) is looking for fables up to 350 words in style of Robert Louis Stephenson by 2nd April 2022, and the criteria would allow for nature-related stories. Here’s one of his fables for inspiration.
  • weekly Five Words International Poetry Competition (entry 5 euros) might be worth considering if you’re inspired by writing under pressure. Five new words are posted each week to include and some of the combinations (eg. speck spill lover over silver) could definitely inspire nature themes.

This month’s Who to Read or Follow recommendations:

  • This month I’m reading Helen Macdonald’s Vesper Flights for the nature-writing book club I’ve joined. I particularly loved the essay, High Rise, which epitomises everything I’d love my nature-writing to be too: surprising, gently informative and thought-provoking.
  • Hey Twitter users, the lovely team @BirdWatchingMag post regular photo quizzes to help you improve your bird id skills (and the magazine’s pretty darn cool too…)

This month’s Nature-writing tips and prompts:

Stuck for nature-writing inspiration?  Nature pops up in the most unlikely places. Why not write about the wild and wonderful in your supermarket car park?

Add to your knowledge of the nature around you… December is the perfect month to get to know one of the winter visitors to our islands, perhaps Redwings, or, if you’re really lucky, Waxwings? Both of these turn up in car parks to feed on berries.

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

[This month’s pic is a collage of Common Starlings in winter plumage – a lovely distraction from supermarket shopping and the subject of the article I’m currently writing]