21 July 2021. James Cropper has announced a three-year headline sponsorship of The Wainwright Prize, a prestigious nature writing prize, named after much-loved writer Alfred Wainwright, a Kendal local famous for his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells.

Having made fine papers for publishing, premium print, art and luxury packaging since 1845 in the very town where Alfred Wainwright lived and worked, the partnership underpins the shared history and purpose of the two organisations.

In 2005, James Cropper produced a custom-made paper, matching the paper from the first editions, for the 50th Anniversary Wainwright pictorial guides that were once again printed in Kendal.

Publishers Frances Lincoln, in association with the National Trust, launched The Wainwright Prize for UK Nature and Travel Writing in November 2013. The prize aims to reward outstanding literary titles inspired by the general outdoors, UK nature, travel and conservation.

Previous winners include The Seabird’s Cry by Adam Nicholson; Underland by Robert Macfarlane and Diary of A Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty.

For the second year, the prize includes an additional category for books on global conservation and climate change. In the midst of a pandemic, coupled with the ongoing climate crisis, the prize feels timelier than ever before, as recognition of the restorative role that nature plays, and the urgency with which it needs to be protected grows.

Being located amongst the Lake District fells, stewardship of the natural environment is integral to the James Cropper business, and it is that mutual respect and celebration of nature and conservation that sit at the heart of the business’ sponsorship of the Wainwright Prize.

As specialists in upcycling fibre, James Cropper created the world’s first recycling process dedicated to upcycling take-away cups. By harnessing the valuable natural fibres in the billions of coffee cups which are thrown away every year in the UK, the CupCycling® facility has closed the loop for what was once an enormous waste stream, giving it new life.

Mark Cropper, James Cropper Plc, Chairman said: “Throughout society, people are increasingly rediscovering a love of books and spending more time connecting with nature and green spaces. We are delighted to support the authors involved in this year’s Wainwright Prize who are telling their story with paper; writing such wonderful books, and inspiring book lovers of all generations, to connect with the natural world and share an intrinsic attitude towards global conservation.”

The shortlisted authors will be announced on the 4th August with the longlist including authors such as David Attenborough, Helen Macdonald, James Rebanks and Dieter Helm.

This year’s Nature Writing judging panel is chaired by TV presenter Julia Bradbury, and her fellow judges are: Geoff Duffield, Wildlife Trust volunteer and former publisher; Jessica J Lee, Editor WillowHerb Review; Mark Funnell, Communications and Campaigns Director, National Trust; Patrick Neale, Bookseller Jaffe & Neale and Andrew Willan, Wealden Festival Director. They are joined this year by TV presenter and author; Ray Mears.

The Chair of Judges for the new Global Conservation Prize is BBC Countryfile presenter, Charlotte Smith. She is joined by Adrian Phillips, Environmental Professional; Dr. Craig Bennett, CEO UK Wildlife Trust; Rachel Woolliscroft, sustainability expert; Anita Longely, Chair, Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability and Nigel Roby, Community Energy Enthusiast and Strategic Advisor.

Jane King, Step-Daughter of Alfred Wainwright said: “I am thrilled that James Cropper is sponsoring the Wainwright literary prizes this year. Growing up near the paper mill, I have always known the company, and their local knowledge and reputation for sustainability make them an ideal sponsor. I’m sure that Wainwright himself and my mother would have been delighted with the partnership.”

This is the eighth year of this special prize, and the restorative effects of natural capital are reflected keenly in this year’s entries. The Wainwright Prize is about celebrating the wonder and awe of green spaces and natures creatures through the prism of our authors lives.