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…

This macro photo is of some tiny Common Whitlowgrass which is in flower at the moment in South London.

February updates:

  • last day to enter The Rialto Nature and Place poetry competition (deadline 1st Mar 2023, entry £7) for poetry up to 40 lines could be a good place to submit Thumbnail Nature poems.
  • still time to enter 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.
  • new listing The Field magazine’s nature-writing competition (deadline 16th May, free entry) for 800-1000 words on one of the following topics A green and pleasant land?, Fur, feather & fin or My first… Could this be an opportunity to get your views across to a completely different audience? Or would this be a line you wouldn’t cross?
  • new listing Do you have an idea which has been percolating for while. Would it work for the prestigious Bridport Prize (deadline 31st May 2023, entry £11) flash fiction (250 words) category? Let’s get some surprising, powerful and exciting nature writing in front of the judges.
  • watch this space The biennial Nan Shepherd prize for underrepresented voices in nature writing must be due to be announced soon for the 2023 round.
  • watch this space for updates on the 2023/24 Nature Chronicles Prizes
  • watch this space for updates on the Nature Writing Prize for Working Class Writers 2023
  • still relevant My series of online nature-writing workshops on the general theme of Wild Pavements is coming to an end with the fifth and final workshop taking place next week on Thursday 9th March or Friday 10th March from 7-8pm. Join me for a relaxing and creative hour on the theme of Wild Pavements: Where Spring Comes Early and I really believe you will start seeing urban areas differently. Tickets are flexibly priced and 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 working on.
  • 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 readingMike Dilger‘s new book One Thousand Shades of Green and it’s such a pleasure reading a creative non-fiction book about plants for a change.
  • Hey Twitter Users…  It’s not just his books which are worth reading, Robert Mcfarlane writes lovely heart-warming nature tweets too.

This month’s Nature-writing tips and prompts:

Feature article submission tip… if you don’t already keep one, start a nature diary TODAY & it doesn’t need to be any more than a list of things you’ve seen and notice with where and when you saw them. It’s always useful to be able to pitch an idea to a mag about something you know is going to be around and topical in 3 or 4 months time.

Stuck for nature-writing inspiration? It’s hard not to notice the early signs of spring wherever you live… but what changes are usually overlooked in spring nature?

Add to your knowledge of the nature around you… in early spring, I become hyper-aware of common bird songs and calls. Can you nail the different calls of Blue Tits and Great Tits? Is that the alarm call of a Robin or a Blackbird? While the trees are still bare is a great time to consolidate your knowledge about very common and familiar species.

And… please send me anything you’d like to be included in my March 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. I host Goldcrest Nature Writers, a nature-writing forum. And finally my proudly self-published activity book Thumbnail Nature Journal is available to buy here…  

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