Diary of a Young Naturalist
WINNER OF THE WAINWRIGHT PRIZE FOR NATURE WRITING 2020
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
In this stunning debut, Northern Irish 16-year-old conservationist and activist McAnulty delivers a galvanizing love letter to nature. McAnulty, who's on the autism spectrum, was often bullied in school and discovered that "wildlife and the magnificence of nature" made sense to him far more than other people. The author's lush prose enchants as he chronicles a year of campaigning for climate justice and exploring the vastness of Northern Ireland's outdoors, witnessing its beauty in everything from a silver-crowned chaffinch "with confetti flecks on its silver crown" to the intricate flight patterns of bats "making strange angles as they take to the air to feed." Much like fellow activist Greta Thunberg, McAnulty sees his passion for climate justice as his superpower. He writes about juggling school, meetings with the Environment Minister at the London Zoo, and the emotional stress caused when "the urgency of supporting collapsing ecosystems and protecting wildlife gets overtaken by human narcissism and insecurity." Even still, that doesn't stop him from calling out the hypocrisy politicians often show in the face of climate change. "The Minister made grandiose promises and plans that day, but where are they now?" This should be required reading.