2015 - GODS OF THE MORNING - John Lister-Kaye


The short-list for the first year of the award was: 
  •              Common Ground, by Rob Cowen, published by Hutchinson; 
  •              Gods of the Morning, by John Lister-Kaye, published by Canongate;
  •              The Moth Snowstorm, by Michael McCarthy, published by John Murray.

The final decision of the Judging Panel was that the prize should be awarded to John Lister-Kaye (pictured left shaking hands with John Price), for Gods of the Morning. 

This book was felt to be lyrically written, with a true naturalist’s eye for the changing seasons and times of day; the hardships experienced by man and beast in the harshest winters; and his own personal encounters with a wide range of wildlife from ravens to young spiders. The extensive studies of rooks – (from the bathroom of Lister-Kaye's house!) – reminded the judges of Richard Jefferies' observations on the same species; observations brought together into one book by an enterprising publisher. 
Gods of the Morning is a book by a man who is as familiar with his local Scottish wildlife and countryside as Richard Jefferies had been with his Wiltshire local environment; and both authors also had the ability to describe some of the local human population in deft terms. 
An outstanding first winner of the Richard Jefferies Society Writers’ Prize, Lister-Kaye is able to convey the joy of nature in an uncomplicated and eloquent fashion.