“Dave asks me to hold one of the birds, and as I bring it close to my chest its body heat illuminates me. I start to fill with something visceral. This is who I am. This is who we all could be. I am not like these birds but neither am I separate from them.”
- Diary of a Young Naturalist
It is a great pleasure to welcome the astounding young writer, Dara McAnulty to The Shaking Bog Festival. At only seventeen years of age, Dara McAnulty has already blazed a trail through the literary world, winning numerous prizes for his wondrous debut book, Diary of a Young Naturalist. He also recently published a beautiful children’s book - Wild Child - a multi-sensory guide to connecting with the natural world.
A remarkable young man with autism, Dara McAnulty is a naturalist, conservationist and activist from Northern Ireland. After writing his online blog 'Naturalist Dara' for over three years and writing for many UK Wildlife NGOs, he published Diary of a Young Naturalist which won the prestigious 2020 Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing, and was longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize - the youngest-ever author to do so in both cases. Dara has also featured widely in national publications and recently began a column for The Irish Times.
Dara is a passionate and fervent campaigner for the natural world and dedicated fundraiser, volunteer and wildlife recorder. He is the youngest ever winner of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Medal for services to conservation and nature. He lives with his family and Rosie - their beloved rescue-greyhound - at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in County Down.
Dara will read extracts from his writing and this will be followed by an informal conversation with journalist, broadcaster and author Dearbhail McDonald.
'An extraordinary voice and vision: brave, poetic, ethical, lyrical'
- Robert Macfarlane
'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