Adelaide hills "movement" © Ben Goode

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Nature Writing Prize 2021

Submit your Essay

Entries close 5pm AEST Friday 19 February 2021

Submit your essay

Submissions are now open for The Nature Conservancy’s sixth biennial Nature Writing Prize.

A prize of AU$7,500 will be awarded to the author of an essay between 3,000 and 5,000 words in the genre of ‘Writing of Place’. The winning entry will also be published in Griffith Review online. 

Judge’s Geordie Williamson and Tara June Winch will award the prize to an Australian writer, aged 18 and over, whose entry is deemed to be of the highest literary merit and which best explores his or her relationship and interaction with some aspect of the Australian landscape.

The Nature Conservancy Australia Nature Writing Prize was created to promote and celebrate the art of nature writing in Australia as well as to encourage a greater appreciation of Australia’s magnificent landscapes.

The 2021 Nature Writing Prize will also feature an additional prize – with the writer of one Highly Commended essay receiving the Rosina Joy Buckman Award, which is a two-week residency at Life at Springfield, in the NSW Southern Highlands.

For full terms and conditions please click here.

The Winner will be announced in May 2021.

Submit your essay today

The prize is open to Australian citizens and permanent residents. Participants will need to pay an entry fee of $25. Submissions close at 5pm AEST Friday 19 February 2021.


About the Judges

Tara June Winch

Tara June Winch is an Aboriginal Australian writer based in France. Her first novel Swallow the Air, (UQP) 2006 was critically acclaimed. In 2008, she was mentored by Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. The novel has been on the HSC syllabus for Standard and Advanced English since 2009 and a tenth-anniversary edition was published in 2016. The short-story collection After the Carnage, was published in 2016 also to critical acclaim. In 2018 she wrote the script for the Indigenous dance documentary Carriberrie. Her current novel The Yield was published in 2019 and won the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Award. In 2020 new editions have been published in France and the US/CA/UK.

Geordie Williamson

Geordie Williamson is the publisher of Pan Macmillan’s Picador imprint. He is the former chief literary critic of the Australian newspaper and his essays and reviews have been appearing in newspapers and magazines here and in the UK for over a decade. In 2011, he won the Pascall Prize for criticism, Australia’s only major national prize awarded for critical writing. He published The Burning Library, a collection of essays on neglected Australian writers, in 2012. He lives in the Blue Mountains with his family.


Past Winners

Annamaria Weldon won the inaugural prize for her piece ‘Threshold Country,’ which the judges described as "a marvelously orchestrated, complex meditation on belonging. It is at once assured and yet gently voiced." 

The second biennial prize was awarded to Stephen Wright for his essay ‘Bunyip’ which explored the culture and fate of Indigenous communities and early European settlers as they navigated the landscape of south east Queensland. Victorian author Nick Gadd won the third prize for his essay ‘A landscape of stories’ – a reflection on walking through the industrial landscapes of Melbourne and the fresh ways of seeing an unplanned or unfamiliar route can create.

The 2017 prize was awarded to Sophie Cunningham for her essay Biyala Stories, a beautiful account of the natural and social history of the red gums and waterways of Melbourne’s landscape that serves as an eloquent reminder of the degree to which the survival of the trees and the rivers is connected to our own. 

The 2019 prize awarded two winners - Jenny Sinclair’s An Orchard For My Father, a lyrical and personal essay that leaves us with a sense of bittersweet hope in the smallness of our human selves, and Sue Castrique’s On the Margins of the Good Swamp, which turns its focus onto urban or disturbed landscapes and reflects on how water wilfully asserts an ancient topography even in the heart of the city.


Thank you

The prize has been made possible thanks to the vision—and a generous donation—from The McLean Foundation, which promotes and celebrates the literature of nature and literature in nature in Australia. The Rosina Joy Buckman Award has been generously donated by Life at Springfield.