Dara McAnulty becomes youngest ever finalist for Baillie Gifford prize – The Guardian

Diary of a Young Naturalist, the 16-year-old’s debut, joins 12 other books in contention for prestigious £50,000 nonfiction award

Dara McAnulty, author of Diary of a Young Naturalist.
Natural talent … Dara McAnulty, author of Diary of a Young Naturalist. Photograph: Elaine Hill Photography

The teenager Dara McAnulty has become the youngest writer ever to be longlisted for the UK’s most prestigious nonfiction award, the Baillie Gifford prize, for his book Diary of a Young Naturalist, which he began writing at the age of 14.

The book chronicles a year in the life of McAnulty, who is autistic, as he deals with his family’s move across Northern Ireland and seeks sanctuary in nature, detailing encounters in his garden and in the wild.

At 16, McAnulty is the youngest author to be longlisted in the prize’s history. If he wins the £50,000 award, he would be by far the youngest ever winner of a major UK literary prize. Téa Obreht is the youngest winner of the women’s prize, taking it in 2011 at the age of 25, while Sally Rooney, at 27, is the youngest winner of Costa award for best novel and Eleanor Catton is the youngest winner of the Booker at 28. Last month Marieke Lucas Rijneveld became the youngest winner of the International Booker, at 29.

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