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 snow in South London.

December updates:.

  • I’m very excited to announce that Bird Watching Magazine are launching a Thumbnail Nature creative writing competition, which I’ll be judging alongside fabulous nature writers Stephen Moss, Anita Roy and Dominic Couzens. You can find all the details in the January issue of the magazine which is due in the shops this Thurs 22 Dec. I originally developed the idea of Thumbnail Nature writing of 50 words or less for workshop participants so I’m delighted to see this writing form snowball.
  • new listing The Urban Tree Festival 2023 writing competition (deadline 13th Mar 2023, entry 6 euros) is on the theme of “Secrets of the Trees”. You can submit up to two pieces of fiction/non-fiction, prose/poetry up to 250 words.
  • still relevant  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 My series of online nature-writing workshops on the general theme of Wild Pavements is underway  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). You can see the online anthology from one of the previous Wild Pavements workshops here to give you an idea of what we’ll be doing.
TICKETS: Thursdays 7-8pmTICKETS: Fridays 7-8pm
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 Contemplative Writing online workshop (free) 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…
  • 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 Adam Nicholson’s Wainwright-Prize-winning book The Seabird’s Cry from 2017. I love his writing style and the way he weaves in science and cultural references with his first hand experiences.
  • Hey Facebook Users, with the help of nature writers Paul Gamble and Vanessa Wright, I host Goldcrest Nature Writers – a supportive and nurturing private forum on which there are regular writing challenges and free online writing events. You just need to request membership via the forum…

This month’s Nature-writing tips and prompts:

Feature article submission tip… work out what’s unique about your perspective as a nature writer. Is it about who you are in your everyday life? Your hobby or your area of expertise? Or where you live? Find out what publications there are in that space which might be consider nature-themed writing.

Stuck for nature-writing inspiration? How about writing on the theme of “hibernation” as winter seems to have finally arrived?

Add to your knowledge of the nature around you… how much do you know about Britain’s 90 mammal species, both native and naturalised? and which ones live in your local area? It costs £36 a year (or £25 for concessions) to join the Mammal Society and there’s lots of free information on the society’s website too. [Confession: I managed to name less than half before I started reading about them]

And… please send me anything you’d like to be included in my January 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…