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Richard Jefferies Society & White Horse Bookshop Literary Prize

“The Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize” will be awarded to the author of the publication considered by the judging panel to be the most outstanding nature writing published in a given calendar year. The winning work will reflect the heritage and spirit of Jefferies’ countryside books.

  An annual prize of £1,000 will be awarded for any length or format of writing on themes or topics broadly consistent with the work of Richard Jefferies. It has to be published (not re-published) within the calendar year and first English translations of works are eligible. E-books are excluded from the award. 

  Nominations may be made by anyone.  Decisions about the Prize will be made by the Society's Executive Council and will be final.  The right not to make an award in a given year is reserved. 

  The closing date for nominations is 31 December. Please send your nominations by using the email button and include as much covering information as possible.

 John Webb, one of the Society's most active members, died in 2014.   He left the Society a legacy that will be used as a memorial to him. The Richard Jefferies Society Writers’ Prize commenced in 2015. The Following year the competition was promoted in collaboration with Angus Maclennan, proprietor of the White Horse Book Shop in Marlborough, who  doubled the prize money.

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2015 winner

The Panel judging publications from 2015 considered a long-list of 10 books, reduced at a preliminary meeting to three. These three were: Common Ground, by Rob Cowen, published by Hutchinson; Gods of the Morning, by John Lister-Kaye, published by Canongate; and The Moth Snowstorm, by Michael McCarthy, published by John Murray.

The final decision of the Panel was that the prize should be awarded to John Lister-Kaye, for Gods of the Morning. This book was felt to be lyrically written, with a true naturalist’s eye for the changing seasons and times of day; the hardships experienced by man and beast in the harshest winters; and his own personal encounters with a wide range of wildlife from ravens to young spiders. The extensive studies of rooks – (from the bathroom of Lister-Kaye's house!) – reminded the judges of Richard Jefferies' observations on the same species; observations brought together into one book by an enterprising publisher. Gods of the Morning is a book by a man who is as familiar with his local Scottish wildlife and countryside as Richard Jefferies had been with his Wiltshire local environment; and both authors also had the ability to describe some of the local human population in deft terms.

An outstanding first winner of the Richard Jefferies Society Writers’ Prize, Lister-Kaye is able to convey the joy of nature in an uncomplicated and eloquent fashion.


The were sixteen nominations for the 2016 award. 

The final shortlist is:

     ·         The Nature of Autumn, by Jim Crumley, published by Saraband.

·         The Running Hare, by John Lewis-Stempel, published by Doubleday.

·         Six Facets of Light, by Ann  Wroe, published by Jonathan Cape.

·         Walking Through Spring, by Graham Hoyland, published by William Collins.

·         The Wood for the Trees, by Richard Fortey, published by William Collins.

 The decision on the winner will be made at the Richard Jefferies Society's Executive Council meeting on Saturday 13 May 2017 and announced at a special event at the White Horse Bookshop on 3 June.