Photographs of four women, text: shortlist, Nan Shepherd Prize

Nan Shepherd Prize Shortlisting

I’m delighted to be shortlisted for the prestigious 2021 Nan Shepherd Prize for nature writing. It’s an honour to be shortlisted alongside such fantastic writers and I am delighted in the interest in my book, The Selkie Papers.

The Selkie Papers


The Selkie Papers is a memoir in essays exploring recovery from trauma and accessing the natural world as a wheelchair user. The book explores themes of chronic illness, marginalisation and navigating physical and mental boundaries, woven together with the selkie myth. The writing is engaging, moving and considerate in its approach to the natural world.

The Selkie Papers: Field Notes on Finding Boundaries draws from Grace Quantock’s personal and therapeutic work, exploring her experience of learning to access the outside world while finding boundaries after trauma. While Grace crosses borders of limits and stereotypes, she need boundaries to access the natural world safely. As she moved from being housebound to being out in the world, she mapped her process of coming back to her body after trauma, emerging into the world in a body that’s marginalised and maligned. While bed bound, Grace had forgotten what grass felt like, or that stars existed, and rediscovering them was a delight. But she emerged into the struggle of building boundaries after trauma in an environment that disallowed them. In The Selkie Papers, Grace draws on the natural world to support her in finding a way to live well in her body. Through the Selkie legends of seal women’s stolen skins, she takes a psychotherapeutic and lived experience approach to unpacking the process of implementing boundaries. It’s a journey through finding meaning and herself in the wilds.

Grace Quantock is a writer and counsellor. She writes narrative non-fiction at the intersection of creative arts, social justice and marginalised bodies. She has been awarded the The London Library Emerging Writers Award and was shortlisted for the Writers’ & Artists’ Working-Class Writers’ Prize 2021. Quantock has been published or has essays forthcoming in the GuardianMetro and New Statesman; she has also appeared in the New Yorker Online, The Times and Marie Claire. She lives in Wales and is passionate about nature journaling and calligraphy.


Represented: Abi Fellows at The Good Literary Agency.