Skip to main content

The network for trade,
training and development 

23 June 2018

Amy Liptrot's The Outrun wins the Wainwright Prize 2016

5 August 2016

The Outrun, Amy Liptrot's debut account of reconnecting with her native Orkney, has been named winner of The Wainwright Golden Beer Prize 2016, a £5,000 award to celebrate the best UK nature and travel writing. The Outrun is published by Edinburgh-based Canongate.

The announcement was made at a special BBC Countryfile Live event in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire in front of a public audience.

First published in January this year, The Outrun follows the author's return to Orkney after more than a decade away. Now thirty, she finds herself washed up back home, standing on an unstable cliff edge, trying to come to terms with all that happened to her in London. Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, and the days and nights tracking Orkney's wildlife, she makes the slow journey towards redemption.

Chair of judges Dame Fiona Reynolds said:

 "We felt bowled over by the quality of the entries this year and this year's shortlist is the best yet.  We struggled with the task of judging it and although our winner was our unanimous choice we were torn by the process and commend all the shortlisted authors for their contributions.

 "Our winner, Amy Liptrot's The Outrun, is brave and searingly honest. Profoundly contrasting London's underbelly and Orkney's wild, windy and remote harshness, Amy discovers herself and her route to freedom through nature, including through its harshness, grit and honesty. She writes bravely, unsettlingly and with a self-revelatory exposure that can shock; but she also writes beautifully. Amy's is an unforgettable voice: she did not seek nature but nature sought her, and her spare, lyrical prose is both powerful and tender."

Now in its third year, the Wainwright Golden Beer Prize awards £5,000 annually to the work that best reflects renowned nature writer Alfred Wainwright's core values of celebrating the great British outdoors. The prize is sponsored by Wainwright Golden Beer, the iconic brand celebrating its namesake's inspirational and determined approach to overcoming challenges, and supported by partners Stanfords and The National Trust.

The beautiful cover of The Outrun has earned Canongate a place on the shortlist of the British Book Design & Production Awards 2016 (Best Jacket/Cover Design category). The Outrun was also shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2016.


For a round up of other book prizes and awards, see our Prizes and Awards Calendar.