Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Winners of the Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Writing Prize

Image of hands clasping a plantThe Royal Societies of Australia today (12 October 2022) announced the joint winners of its inaugural Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Award for Writing on Social Change.

This new annual award recognises dynamic non-fiction writers between18 and 40 years of age in the Australasia/Oceania Region who aim to ignite positive social change through published work on any theme exploring key business and society issues. Themes include, but are not limited to, climate change, racial/gender equality, sustainability, innovation, and new approaches to lessen war and social stresses.

This year’s winners come from diverse backgrounds, but each brings a passion for getting their message out to as wide an audience as possible.

Dr Anika MolesworthDr Anika Molesworth is a farmer, scientist, and storyteller. She is widely recognised for her work in agriculture and food systems and for generating climate change awareness. She is passionate about the effects of climate change on food production and hence the need for food producers to think differently about their processes. The prize is awarded for her book Our Sunburnt Country and her program of future work in this area. On receiving news of her award Anika said:

I am thrilled to be recognised by The Royal Societies of Australia and New Zealand in the Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Writing Prize for my writing on climate change, food security, and farming systems. With the world facing a multiplicity of challenges, it is critical that we communicate and engage with these issues so that they may be addressed and overcome quickly. It is a great honour to win this Award and it has given me a boost of confidence and encouragement for future writing endeavours. This Prize will go towards the creation of more books and communications to connect people with how climate change is impacting farmers and the food they produce, and the role we all play in implementing climate change solutions.

Dr Niraj LalDr Niraj Lal is a physicist and science communicator who delights in explaining natural phenomena to everyone, including our youngest. He is both an academic and popular writer and a presenter on TV, radio and other media. The prize is awarded for his comprehensive science communication work and his program of social engagement for the future. He says:

It’s a real honour to be a joint recipient of this prize. I’m thankful for my teachers, supervisors, and mentors for teaching me to write, and for the generosity of Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters in establishing the award. Social change is a challenging goal – to target, achieve and measure, and recognition like this is wonderful and encouraging.

For me, the real value of awards like this is in their ability to support work to continue; which is my intent – with the energy transition, communicating the wonders of nature, and supporting social change through freedom of information. My particular focus remains communicating beyond those already in the know and those on the same page. I’m donating 10% of the prize money to the Freedom of the Press Foundation and Digital Rights Watch Australia to support writing for social change with freedom from surveillance.

Each wins a half share of the AU$10,000 prize money generously sponsored by Dr Bruce Piasecki, the President and founder of the AHC Group Inc and founder of the Creative Force Foundation Inc (US), and a New York Times best-selling author of multiple titles, and Sebastian Vanderzeil, a Brisbane investor specialising in deep decarbonisation, climate resilient infrastructure and sustainable agriculture.

The award is offered with the kind support of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi.

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