Keggie Carew, who is at Bridport Literary Festival on 7 November, has been shortlisted for The Wainwright Prize in the writing on conservation category for her book, Beastly: A New History of Animals and Us.

Beastly is the 40,000-year story of our changing kinship with the animal world – from the smallest microbe to the largest creature that ever lived. Exploring this relationship through history, culture, science and inspiring examples, Carew makes the passionate case that animals are the key to the planet’s health, but only if we can save them.

The literary prize was created in Alfred Wainwright’s name to showcase the growing genre of nature-writing in publishing and to celebrate and encourage exploration of the outdoors to all readers. It was initially conceived in 2013 by Frances Lincoln, publishers of Alfred Wainwright’s guides. It has been administered ever since by the independent literary marketing agency, Agile.

For the first time in the prize’s 10-year history, women dominate the shortlists, with 13 female authors out of the 19 shortlisted. Eleven of the eighteen shortlisted books are from independent publishers, with Walker Books recognised for three titles, accounting for half of the Children’s Prize shortlist.

Keggie Carew won the 2016 Costa Biography Award. She lives in Wiltshire with her husband, where they have a 24-acre nature reserve for fauna, flora and the education of young people.

In Beastly, she argues that the greatest paradox may yet be this: diversity of life can heal ecosystems but its animals – if given the chance – could save us.

Her illustrated talk is at The Bull Ballroom on Tuesday 7 November at 2pm.

Tickets went on general sale last Friday and some events have sold out already.  The BridLit box office is at Bridport Tourist Information Centre in Bucky Doo Square – 01308 424901