Diary of a Young Naturalist
Mr B's review
A book like a mycelium network, both rooted and rooting. ‘Diary of a Young Naturalist’ is a warm and moving portrait of the natural world and the turning of the year from the perspective of an autistic teenager juggling exams, friendships and environmental activism.
Rediscover the outdoors and natural world with the multi-award winning phenomenon and youngest ever major literary prize winner in UK history.
‘Miraculous memoir . . . profoundly moving’ 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
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 AWARDS FOR NON-FICTION 2020; SHORTLISTED FOR: BRITISH BOOK AWARDS 2021, WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020 & LONGLISTED FOR: THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2020
‘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 – McAnulty 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.
BIG ISSUE BOOK OF THE YEAR
HAY FESTIVAL BOOK OF THE YEAR
A TIMES NATURE BOOK OF THE YEAR
‘An extraordinary diary . . . it’s a powerful pitch for why the school curriculum needs to be wilded and a reminder of the value of neurodiversity in literature’ 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
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 * It’s a diary but essentially timeless. It’s about enduring, it’s about passion, beauty and connection. It’s really, really special. * Chris Packham * Dara is only 16 and autistic, and is already on his way to becoming one of the most talented and passionate writers of our era. * Steve Silberman, author of Neurotribes * A beautifully written, profoundly important classic of nature writing that will ignite a passion for the wild in every reader. A stunning achievement. I adored it. * Lauren St John * Feeling illuminates every page of this miraculous memoir … His portrait of loving parents raising three neurodivergent children on poetry, punk and puffins is profoundly moving … intimate, sensitive, deeply felt * Observer *
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