BOOK OF THE YEAR: THE GUARDIAN
Winner of the 2020 Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing
Longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction
“Dara’s is an extraordinary voice and vision: brave, poetic, ethical, lyrical, strong enough to have made him heard and admired from a young age.” —Robert Macfarlane
Evocative, raw, and beautifully written, Diary of a Young Naturalist vividly explores the natural world from the perspective of an autistic teenager juggling homework, friendship, and campaigning for the environment.
Diary of a Young Naturalist chronicles the turning of fifteen-year-old Dara McAnulty’s world. From spring and through a year in his backyard in Northern Ireland, McAnulty spent the seasons writing. These vivid, evocative, and moving diary entries about his connection to wildlife and the way he sees the world are raw in their telling. Above all, Diary of a Young Naturalist portrays McAnulty’s intense connection to the natural world.
“I was diagnosed with Asperger’s/autism aged five... By age seven I knew I was very different, I had got used to the isolation, my inability to break through into the world of talking about football or Minecraft was not tolerated. Then came the bullying. Nature became so much more than an escape; it became a life-support system.”