Adelaide hills "movement" © Ben Goode


Nature Writing Prize 2021

Media Contacts

Submissions Now Open

$7,500 to be awarded to the winning essayist

Calling all writers! The Nature Conservancy has announced the opening of its sixth biennial Nature Writing Prize.

$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 as a multimedia essay. 

The competition’s judges are publisher and writer Geordie Williamson and 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Award winner Tara June Winch.

They will award the prize to an Australian writer whose entry is judged 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 prize has been made possible thanks to the generous support of The McLean Foundation.

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. The Rosina Joy Buckman Award has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Life at Springfield.

Nature Writing Prize Background

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.


The prize is open to Australian citizens and permanent residents. Participants will need to pay an entry fee of $25. Submissions open on Tuesday 15 December and will close at 5pm AEST Friday 19 February 2021. To learn more about the prize and review the terms and conditions visit:


The Nature Writing Prize has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the McLean Foundation.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in more than 70 countries and territories around the world on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, follow us on Facebook.