Adult Non-Fiction category

Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty

‘This diary chronicles the turning of my world, from spring to winter, at home, in the wild, in my head.’

Evocative, raw and lyrical, this startling debut explores the natural world through the eyes of Dara McAnulty, an autistic teenager coping with the uprooting of home, school, and his mental health, while pursuing his life as a conservationist and environmental activist.

Shifting from intense darkness to light, recalling his sensory encounters in the wild – with blackbirds, whooper swans, red kites, hen harriers, frogs, dandelions, Irish hares and more – McAnulty reveals worlds we have neglected to see, in a stunning work of nature-writing that is a future classic.

Diary of a Young Naturalist is a powerful and scintillating portrayal of the beauty of the natural world, as it shines a light on autism and of overcoming severe anxiety. It is a story of the binding love of family and home, and how we can help each other through the most difficult of times.

‘Miraculous memoir... profoundly moving’ Observer

‘Dara is an extraordinary voice and vision: brave, poetic, ethical, lyrical’ Robert Macfarlane

‘It’s a diary but essentially timeless... It’s really, really special’ Chris Packham

‘Dara captures the essence of why we all spend time in nature. The excitement, the peace, the solace, the escape’ Mya-Rose Craig (AKA Birdgirl)

  • Diary of a Young Naturalist

  • WINNER OF BOOK OF THE YEAR, NARRATIVE NON-FICTION BRITISH BOOK AWARDS 2021

    Rediscover the natural world with the multi-award winning phenomenon and youngest ever major literary prize winner in UK history.

    'Miraculous memoir . . . profoundly moving' Observer

    'Dara is an extraordinary voice and vision: brave, poetic, ethical, lyrical' Robert Macfarlane

    'It's a diary but essentially timeless . . . It's really, really special' Chris Packham

    ALSO WINNER OF: THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR NATURE WRITING 2020, AN POST IRISH BOOK AWARD FOR NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR 2020, BOOKS ARE MY BAG READERS AWARDS FOR NON-FICTION 2020; SHORTLISTED FOR: WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020 & LONGLISTED FOR: THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2020
    ___________

    'This diary chronicles the turning of my world, from spring to winter, at home, in the wild, in my head.'

    Evocative, raw and lyrical, this startling debut explores the natural world through the eyes of Dara McAnulty, an autistic teenager coping with the uprooting of home, school, and his mental health, while pursuing his life as a conservationist and environmental activist.

    Shifting from intense darkness to light, recalling his sensory encounters in the wild - with blackbirds, whooper swans, red kites, hen harriers, frogs, dandelions, Irish hares and more - McAnulty reveals worlds we have neglected to see, in a stunning world of nature writing that is a future classic.

    Diary of a Young Naturalist is a powerful and scintillating portrayal of the beauty of the natural world, as it shines a light on autism and of overcoming severe anxiety. It is a story of the binding love of family and home, and how we can help each other through the most difficult of times.
    ___________

    BIG ISSUE BOOK OF THE YEAR
    HAY FESTIVAL BOOK OF THE YEAR
    A TIMES NATURE BOOK OF THE YEAR

    'An extraordinary diary' The Times

    'A torrent of pure, unmediated fervour . . . This is writing at its wild and unruly best' Dr Rachel Clarke

    'Diary of a Young Naturalist is not only one of the finest pieces of modern nature writing produced on this island in recent years, McAnulty is one of our best young writers in any genre' Irish Independent

    'An exceptional new voice. Dara McAnulty celebrates nature in such a fresh way and illuminates
    our understanding of autism' Martha Kearney, chair of the Baillie Gifford Prize 2020

    'One of the most talented and passionate writers of our era' Steve Silberman, award-winning author of NeuroTribes
    ___________

  • Find out more about the book

The Brief

We are looking for a cover design that is, above all, a beautiful package that does justice to Dara’s deeply intimate and sensitive memoir about his experience and the joy of immersing himself in the natural world. The cover should feel timeless and confident and, just as the book breaks the boundaries of traditional nature-writing, whilst still appealing to that readership it should resonate with a much wider audience.

Overall themes discovered within the book or even just a single sentence can spark an idea and concept for your cover design, so do read the book to gain the best possible understanding of the writing, the content and its setting.

Think carefully about your choice of fonts, colour and treatment. This all plays a crucial part in how you represent the overriding feel and communicate the beauty of this very special book.

Your cover design needs to include all the cover copy supplied and be designed to the specified design template – B format, 198mm high x 126mm wide, spine width 18mm. Please refer to the Submissions Details page for full details of the spec and how to submit your entry.

Copyright must be cleared for all images used in your cover design and you must include a credit line on the back cover of your design for any third-party images used. For example: ‘Cover photograph by Allen Lane’.

Read the book before you start designing

We recommend that you read the book before you start on your design in order to get a sense of the themes and of the author’s voice. Diary of a Young Naturalist is stocked in most bookshops and libraries or, if you would like to be sent a link to download a free digital copy, please register your request here.

What the judges are looking for in a winning design

Your cover design should encapsulate the essence or key themes of the book in an imaginative, instant and engaging way. To help you get started, we’ve set out the top things to consider when designing a book cover, and what we look for when narrowing down our shortlist. Read more here.

The Judges

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After graduating from UCA Farnham with a degree in Graphic Communication, Loulou began working as a freelance branding designer. Soon craving something more creative and expressive, she developed her illustrative skills and landed a junior designer role at Orion Publishing. Over her thirteen years there progressing to Art Director, Loulou gained a wealth of experience designing covers across a wide range of genres in both fiction (commercial, literary, crime) and non-fiction (wellbeing, cookery, biography), as well as full book design for many illustrated titles. Loulou joined PRH as Ebury’s Art Director in spring 2020 and is thrilled to be working with an inspiring list of authors such as Yotam Ottolenghi, Charlie Mackesy and Caitlin Moran.

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Suzanne graduated from Kingston University, where she studied Graphic Design. Her first job was at The Greenhouse, designing food packaging and brochures. A year later she was asked if she might be interested in publishing. She joined Penguin Books as a Senior Designer, working for Hamish Hamilton. Three years later she joined Macmillan, to work on the Picador list. Five years later she joined Random House as Art Director for Vintage Books, whose many imprints include Jonathan Cape, Chatto & Windus and Harvill Secker. Here she established the design for the Vintage Classics list. She has worked on a wide range of cover designs for authors such as Mark Haddon, Haruki Murakami, Ian McEwan, Julian Barnes, Yuval Noah Harari, Richard Flanagan and Rachel Kushner.

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Richard graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a Graphic Design degree. He was drawn into publishing through book cover design agency The Senate and has never looked back. He became Art Director at Transworld Publishing, within Penguin Random House, in 2015. He was previously Art Director at Cornerstone, also in the Penguin Random House Group, for thirteen years. He has also worked at Pan Macmillan as Associate Art Director, and Headline Books as a Senior Designer

Over the years he has worked on a range of cover designs for books, in all genres, including novels by John Grisham, Kate Atkinson, James Herbert, Paula Hawkins, James Patterson, Shari Lapena, Wilbur Smith, P.G. Wodehouse, Lisa Jewell, Sophie Kinsella and Douglas Coupland, plus autobiographies by Peter Kay, Tony Blair, David Jason, Rod Stewart, Steve Coogan and John Cleese.

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After graduating from the University of Derby with a BA Honours in Graphic Design, Jason moved to London to further his education at Central Saint Martins. He began his career working for a company that specialized in packaging for CDs and DVDs, combining his passion for music and film with design.

The move into publishing was a natural progression and he secured a job at Random House as designer, quickly followed by a more senior role. As Art Director of Cornerstone, Jason works on a list of successful authors including James Patterson, Helen Dunmore, Tony Parsons, Tim Peake and Katie Price to name a few.

Guest judges to be announced in 2022

Tips and inspiration

 

 

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