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

The heading photo is of Greylag Geese at Walthamstow Wetlands

September updates:

  • a big shout-out to my pal Vanessa Wright whose piece was a runner up in this year’s BBC Countryfile Magazine New Nature Writer competition. Another pal, Jen Jones, had her piece highly commended too. Congratulations Vanessa and Jen!
  • Not free but discounted if you are unwaged New Networks for Nature is in York this year from 3rd-5th of November. While it’s a multi-disciplinary event, fab nature writer Amy-Jane Beer is one of the organisers and there are often opportunities to chat with other nature writers. I’ll be there on the Friday so do come and say hi. And this is what Chris Packham has to say about it.
  • monthly A free Contemplative Writing online workshop takes place the third Saturday of every month between 12-1pm. If you’re finding nature writing regularly a challenge, this might be the thing…
  • still open Non-fiction competitions are a little thin on the ground this month, so here are some short fiction competitions which might be worth considering for developing your nature writing over the summer: Creative Writing Ink Short Story Competition (deadline 30th Sep 2022, entry £9), Bedford Short Story Competition (deadline 31st Oct 2022, entry £7.50)
  • 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.
  • newly added/monthly The Shooter Literary Magazine flash non-fiction/fiction competition (entry £3.50) seems a perfect opening for nature writing.
  • ongoing No list of writing competitions can be entirely comprehensive but I like to keep an eye on this one – compiled by Neon Books.
  • watch this space I’m currently planning a new series of online nature-writing workshops for this autumn and winter… details to follow.

This month’s Who to Read or Follow recommendations:

  • This month I’m reading Nicola Chester’s lovely book On Gallows Down but I’m deliberately reading it really really slowly to eke out the pleasure of wallowing in her elegant writing for as long as possible.
  • Hey Twitter users, I’d recommend following inspiring young birder, environmentalist and author Mya-Rose Craig

This month’s Nature-writing tips and prompts:

Stuck for nature-writing inspiration? September always makes me think of Joni Mitchell’s song Urge for Going, a time of change of nature bittersweet comings and goings. How does it make you feel?

Add to your knowledge of the nature around you… for me September is when Ivy really comes into its own. What can you find feeding on Ivy flowers? Perhaps you have Ivy bees in your area?

And… please send me anything you’d like to be included in the October newsletter.

Recordings of writing workshops I’ve led can be found here on my Youtube channel and you can read anthologies from my nature-writing residency partnered with the London Wildlife Trust here on their blog. My proudly self-published activity book Thumbnail Nature Journal is available to buy here…