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:

  • 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.
  • still time I’m hosting a free online nature-writing workshop on 26 February 2022 on the theme of Nature, Framed made possible by National Lottery Funding via Arts Council England. I’ll be co-leading this event with disabled nature writer Helen Jones. If you want to know what to expect, you can catch up with previous workshops on my Youtube channel.
  • still time The Rialto Nature and Place Poetry Competition 2022 (entry £7 per poem) Submit poems up to 40 lines that deal with any aspect of nature and place by 1 March 2022.
  • new to this newsletter Need a weekend break? The theme of the Shaftesbury Book Festival from 11th to 13th March is Reading the Land and there are events dotted around this lovely Dorset village with some of my favourite nature writers, including Brigit Strawbridge Howard, Mary Colwell and Stephen Moss. Event tickets are £10 and seem to be selling out fast.
  • still relevant 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.
  • new The Moving Mountains project led by Louise Kenward has been awarded funding from those lovely folk at Arts Council England for a nature writing anthology and a series of workshops. This new project focuses on nature writing by disabled authors and writers with chronic illness. I’ll share more details when I get them.
  • 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:

  • The Read It Wild event was such a pleasure to co-host last month with my pal and fellow nature writer Vanessa Wright. If you missed it, you can watch the video here.
  • This month I’m reading The Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand with the nature book group I’m part of… although it doesn’t feel the foxes who live round my way are hiding much.
  • Hey Twitter users, I’d recommend following Chris Charles who among other interesting things tweets a lovely dose of nature poetry by John Clare every day – perhaps these are vitamins for nature writers?

This month’s Nature-writing tips and prompts:

Stuck for nature-writing inspiration? … share something amazing you’ve found in nature with someone you care about, and write about your conversation with them.

Add to your knowledge of the nature around you… the warm spell has encouraged some our mining bees to emerge. Find out about these amazing and gorgeous solitary bees and as spring arrives keep an eye out for the tiny spoil heaps they create as they tunnel their way out of the winter burrows.

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

[This month’s pic is the first Lesser Celandine I found in flower this year in my south London patch]