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 photo is of a Redwing in a Hawthorn bush on the South Circular – I saw my first one for this autumn on Hampstead Heath on 16th Oct.

October updates:

  • new I’ve just published details of a new series of five online nature-writing workshops for autumn and winter on the general theme of Wild Pavements – with each workshop in the series kicked off on a Thursday evening and repeated on Friday evening. Join me for a relaxing and creative hour and I really believe you will start seeing urban areas differently. Tickets are flexibly priced and available on Eventbrite (linked below).
Thursday 7-8pmFriday 7-8pm
17th Nov 2022 – In the most unlikely place18th Nov 2022 – In the most unlikely place (repeat)
15th Dec 2022 – Looking up16th Dec 2022 – Looking up (repeat)
12th Jan 2023 – Kerb appeal13th Jan 2023 – Kerb appeal (repeat)
9th Feb 2023 – Destination urban nature10th Feb 2023 – Destination urban nature (repeat)
9th Mar 2023 – Where spring comes early10th Mar 2023 – Where spring comes early (repeat)
  • a big shout-out to my pal Paul Gamble whose beautiful essay about the Spurn peninsula in Yorkshire – Ends the land suddenly – has been published in Little Toller’s prestigious online journal The Clearing.
  • Cancelled Sadly New Networks for Nature – due to take place in York from 3rd-5th of November – has been cancelled because of the rail strikes. We’ll just have to look forward to next year.
  • 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 at the moment, so here are some short fiction competitions which might be worth considering for developing your fictional nature writing over the autumn: Bedford Short Story Competition (deadline 31st Oct 2022, entry £7.50), EcoSanta Short Story Competition (deadline 30th Nov 2022, entry £5), and New Writers Flash Fiction (deadline 30th Nov 2022, entry £6)
  • still open… and here are some poetry competitions where nature poetry would be eligible: The National Poetry Competition (deadline 31st Oct 2022, entry £7) and The Moth Poetry Prize (deadline 31st Dec 2022, entry 15 euros)
  • 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.
  • 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.

This month’s Who to Read or Follow recommendations:

  • This month I’m reading Esther Woolfsons Field Notes From a Hidden City – her celebration of urban nature in Aberdeen. I loved her earlier book Corvus: a life with birds so I’m really looking forward to this one. Judging by the reviews when it was published nearly 10 years old, it set a high standard for urban nature writing.
  • Hey Twitter users, I’d recommend following Paul Knights who writes field note tweets from his life in the Pennines, illustrated with stunning landscape photographs.

This month’s Nature-writing tips and prompts:

Stuck for nature-writing inspiration? A season of “mists and mellow fruitfulness” in the words of poet John Keats, it’s a great time to write about all things fruity.

Add to your knowledge of the nature around you… we have two native species of hawthorn in the British Isles, Common Hawthorn and Midland Hawthorn. They’re best distinguished by the number of seeds in each fruit – Common (Crataegus monogyna) has one as its Latin name suggests and Midland Hawthorn (C. laevigata) has two stuck together. Can you find both in your wilderhood?

And… please send me anything you’d like to be included in the November 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…