home

purchase

about us highlights current issue art prize back issues poetry prize short story prize nature writing prize poem fiction interview submissions books contact
The winner of The Moth Nature Writing Prize 2020 was:

Echolocate: A Bat Noctuary by Sammy Weaver 
Sammy Weaver has just completed an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and is currently collaborating with a composer to explore the theme of reemergence. She also recently won the Leeds Peace Poetry Competition 2020, judged by Zaffar Kunial.  
 
‘I first encountered the magic of a bat detector whilst on a writing course led by Pascale Petit and David Morley at Tŷ Newydd in North Wales. After moving onto a narrowboat last year, I soon discovered that canals are great feasting “grounds” for hungry bats. I spent many evenings during lockdown listening to the bat detector, trying to translate into words the strange sounds of their echolocation. Inspired by Sean Borodale’s site-specific poems, I wrote a lot of “Echolocate: A Bat Noctuary” in the moment of listening. I was surprised by the jumble of biography, lyric and prose that resulted. This form of diary-style nature writing is a new venture for me, so I was amazed to receive a phone call from Rebecca O’Connor saying I had won! It gives me so much confidence and it is wonderful to have my writing out there and enjoyed by others. Who knows, maybe it’ll even inspire some bat detecting.’ 
 
Judge’s comment:
‘This is a finely observed piece about bat behaviour, set lightly but tellingly against a backcloth of social crisis and personal resettlement. I was especially impressed by the writer’s pushing of language to its limits to try and capture a world where movement is complex geometry and seeing is hearing. It conjures up the otherness of the natural world, but also that we inhabit the same spaces, so the hard task of understanding is imperative.’
 
You can read Echolocate in the Irish Times online as well as in issue 43 of The Moth.
 
Work by the following writers was also commended:
Sicelo Mbatha, Alyson Hallett and Meredith Jelbart
 
The 2020 competition was judged by Richard Mabey