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 a November view across the Thames from Rainham on the edge of Greater London.

November updates:.

  • new listing The Welkin Prize (deadline 28th Feb 2023, free entry) opens for entries on 1st Dec 2022 and would be perfect for nature writers. Summary of guidance as follows “Up to 400 words… The competition is for any form of narrative prose aimed at adults… doesn’t differentiate between fiction and non-fiction, and welcomes narrative prose”.
  • still relevant I’ve just published details of a new series of 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
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)
  • 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 Here are a couple of short fiction competitions which might be worth considering for developing your fictional nature writing in the last week of November: 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 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 Richard Mabey‘s masterpiece Weeds for the third time as I work on a fun project about pavement plants with a lovely partner organisation. He really does the business with nature narrative IMO.
  • Hey Twitter users, while we all try to work out if we should stay or go, I’d recommend following my talented friend Jeni Bell who has just won the Bookseller’s Nature-writing prize for working class writers with her piece A prayer to the sea

This month’s Nature-writing tips and prompts:

Submission tip Find out when your favourite nature reserves were opened and pitch creative accounts of reserve visits to mark their key anniversary years…

Stuck for nature-writing inspiration? If you need to do something to kick-start your creative day, then try a dawn walk in woodland at the one time of year when it’s not painfully early. There’s always a possibility of finding migrant birds as they call in to rest before continuing their journeys.

Add to your knowledge of the nature around you… I was pavement birding yesterday in very urban Deptford in south London. Listening out for bird song above the urban bustle can be very rewarding & good practise for separating out sounds and you can often get a clear view of the culprit to confirm what you’ve heard… within about 30 minutes I heard House Sparrow, Feral Pigeon, Starling, Herring Gull, Goldfinch, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Great Tit.

And… please send me anything you’d like to be included in my December 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. And finally my proudly self-published activity book Thumbnail Nature Journal is available to buy here…