The Lockdown Nature-writing Challenge – a reminder

Entries are beginning to trickle in for this Nature-writing Challenge. Thank you for those, and the promises of more, but you have plenty of time, 10 days, to add to the number.

Across the world, people are experiencing a shared concern for themselves and their loved ones and many are enduring a period of social distancing and being cut off from wildlife. But, also, many are discovering nature around them in ways that are giving them delight and solace.

Humankind has never had this experience before.

There must be tales to tell and stories to share.

So, let’s gather stories together and share them.

If you have a story to tell then send it to me at before midnight on 30 April and I will publish the best of them (in my opinion) anonymously and let readers of this blog vote on their favourites. There will be a small prize (probably a signed book of mine) for the winner. Or if the entries are numerous, perhaps many prizes for the best ones. But it’s basically for fun. And the aim is for this to be topical when published. There may be another round of entries if lockdowns continue for much longer (as I feel they will in some places and in some form).

Here are the rules, such as they are:

  1. Your story should be a maximum of 1000 words.
  2. Your story should be about experiencing nature in the time of coronavirus within the confines of your home and/or garden.
  3. Your story should be true (I won’t know whether it is true or not but it should not be fantasy).
  4. Your entry should consist of text only (in the body of an email or as a Word attachment) with no images and no hypertext links – just words.
  5. Your story should be sent to with the title Lockdown Nature-writing to arrive by midnight on 30 April.
  6. Only one entry per email address.
  7. Entries are accepted on condition that the winner can be named after a vote to decide the winner.
  8. Any other rules will be made up by Mark Avery and his decision will be final – this is for fun, but there has to be some structure to it to make the conditions clear for all.

I’ll be interested to see what you write about. It might be the spider in the bath, or the rare bird flying over your garden, or listening to bird song more intently or learning to identify the insects in your garden for the first time. You could write about feeling cut off from nature. But your entry must make reference to this being at a time of ‘lockdown’.