How to submit and eligibility details
Submissions for the 2023 Nan Shepherd Prize closed on 25 August 2023. The winner will receive a £10,000 publishing contract with Canongate.
Applications are open to previously unpublished writers based in the UK and Ireland, who consider themselves underrepresented in nature writing, whether through ethnicity, disability, class, sex, gender, sexuality or any other circumstances. This means that entrants must not have published full-length books of fiction or non-fiction with a trade publisher. However:
- Entrants who have published books of poetry or children’s books are eligible to enter.
- Entrants who have published short pieces of writing (fiction or non-fiction) in magazines, books or journals, including poetry, essays, journalism or short stories, are eligible to enter.
- Self-published authors are eligible to enter.
- Writers who have previously held book contracts are eligible to enter.
- Writers who have previously entered the Nan Shepherd Prize are eligible to enter, including those previously longlisted or shortlisted
From 31 May 2023, entrants are invited to submit the following:
- A one-page synopsis of their book, followed by outlines of every chapter. The book need not be completed before submission, but the idea being proposed should be narrative non-fiction and deal with nature or the environment in some form.
- A sample chapter or chapters totalling no more than 7,000 words.
- A biographical note, including information on why you feel underrepresented in nature writing, and any relevant information such as previously published short works or poetry, agent details, social media accounts, literary prizes won or nominated for, etc. This should be no longer than 500 words and should be pasted in the body of the email.
Please send your entry to email@example.com. If you are unable to submit as per the above guidelines, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0131 557 5111 to arrange an alternative method which works better for you.
(If you would like more information about the submission and how best to present your work you might find this breakdown of the brief useful. You can also explore our resources, which have advice for aspiring nature writers, information on agents, magazines and journals, the publishing process and more.)
Submissions are open from 31 May 2023 to 25 August 2023. The longlist will be announced in September 2023. If you do not hear from us by 30 September 2023, unfortunately you have not been longlisted. The shortlist will be announced in October 2023. The winner will be chosen by the judging panel and announced in November 2023.
Please note, the prize dates have been amended to allow for a longer submissions window. This is due to our newly announced July and August events. These workshops have been made possible thanks to generous funding from The National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Fund awards and the Scottish Government.