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.
‘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 – Dara 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.
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 Award for Non-fiction 2020; shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year 2020; and longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2020.
‘Miraculous memoir . . . profoundly moving’ – The 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
‘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