Big Issue Changemaker and teen nature campaigner Dara McAnulty has become the youngest winner of a major literary prize as he scooped the prestigious Wainwright Prize for UK Nature Writing.
A leading light of the conservation and climate movement at 16, the Northern Irish author starred on The Big Issue’s cover back in May, explaining how the natural world brought stability and solace to his world during lockdown.
Now Dara’s debut book Diary of a Young Naturalist has been him recognised with the Wainwright Prize after he took the title at a virtual awards ceremony yesterday. The book is an extraordinary portrayal of his intense connection to the natural world alongside his perspective as an autistic teenager juggling exams, friendships and a life of campaigning.
I’m an autistic teenager. I’m not polished. I don’t rehearse (sometimes I wish I did!). I’m raw and real and very very imperfect. But look what can happen, to an ordinary boy who had a story to tell, in all its rage and love. I forgot to say here – but THANK YOU TO MY FAMILY ???????? pic.twitter.com/IGCS1TCnAl
— Dara McAnulty (@naturalistdara) September 8, 2020
Responding to the historic win, Dara said: “It is an astounding moment, not just for me, but for young people, young writers, young nature lovers.
“This tells our community that our voices matter, our ideas worthy, our stories captivating.