2020 marks the first year in which the Wainwright Prize has been extended to include a second category for Writing on Global Conservation. Chaired by Charlotte Smith, BBC Countryfile, the judging panel consists of Adrian Phillips, conservationist; Rachel Woolliscroft, sustainability expert; and Craig Bennett, CEO UK Wildlife Trusts.
The winner of the inaugural Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation was announced virtually by Charlotte Smith on Tuesday 8th September. On Rebirding, Smith describes it as an ‘immensely engaging book on complex and sometimes controversial issues. It considers the future for wildlife, for birds and for rural communities in an engaging and interesting way. Not everyone is going to agree with the author’s conclusions, but I think they’ll enjoy arguing with him as they read.’
Accepting the award, Macdonald thanked his ‘fantastic, wildlife-minded’ parents, among others, and ultimately dedicated the award to his grandfather who ‘had to go fight a war so that the rest of us could write books like this.’ In conversation with Smith, Macdonald outlined the book’s use of humour and anecdote as a direct response to being ‘continuously aware [that] you could bore the pants off your readers.’
Rebirding is for anyone who cares about Britain’s vanishing wildlife and birds, and is interested in ambitious, but achievable, solutions to wildlife decline. This award-winning title is an economic solution to rewilding our landscapes, creating a future where large, wild areas maintain wildlife. Praised as ‘visionary' by conservationists and landowners alike, Rebirding sets out a compelling manifesto for restoring Britain's wildlife, rewilding its species and restoring rural jobs – to the benefit of all.
The book has garnered significant acclaim and won the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Book Shop Literary Prize 2019 earlier this year.
- Watch: Charlotte Smith announces Benedict Macdonald as the winner of the Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation
- Watch: ‘It is truly humbling, and it is an honour and a privilege’ Benedict Macdonald reflects on winning the Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation
- Read: Benedict Macdonald in conversation with Nigel Jones for The Hoopoe, a blog by NHBS
- Read: Dara McAnulty and Benedict Macdonald announced as winners of 2020 Wainwright Prize – BBC Wildlife Magazine
- Listen: Planet Pod talks to Benedict Macdonald about the story behind Rebirding
- Listen: Nick Acheson and Benedict Macdonald discuss how we might turn things around
Praise for Rebirding
"This is a wonderful book, visionary, illuminating and fascinating. It will help accelerate the rewilding revolution now beginning in Britain."
"Rebirding is beautifully written, based on deep, personal experience and a genuine love of the subject. It also benefits from the heady enthusiasm of youth. You may not have come across Ben Macdonald before now; but believe me, you will hear a lot more from him in the future."
"Having read a number of the recent books about rewilding, I was tempted to think 'Oh blimey, not another one!'. I am now tempted to say 'they left the best till last…' Ben covers history, science, traditions, conservation and reintroduction, all with those most vital elements - knowledge and enthusiasm."
"The type of book that grabs and keeps my attention. I recommend it highly – you should read it and I think you may well enjoy it a lot."
"A book about a key subject at a key time, passionate and deeply thought-through. Anyone concerned with the future of the natural world in Britain will want to read it."
—Michael McCarthy, author of The Moth Snowstorm
"Beautifully written, thoughtful and provocative"
—Martin Harper, Conservation Director, RSPB
"This is a stimulating and important book, beautifully written and well researched… It provides a compelling vision for the future."
—Carl Jones, Chief Scientist, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust