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Judging panel announced for Science Book Prize 2017

02 June 2017

Award-winning novelist and games writer Naomi Alderman will join the judging panel for the 30th anniversary of The Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize, the “Booker Prize of Science Writing” (BBC Radio 4).

Alderman will be one of five judges, chaired by award-winning writer and television presenter, palaeontologist and Royal Society Fellow, Richard Fortey. They are joined by: writer and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind, Claudia Hammond, Channel 4’s Topical Specialist Factual Commissioner, Shaminder Nahal and former Royal Society University Research Fellow, Sam Gilbert.

The Prize has worked with many eminent judges over its illustrious 30-year history, among them Ian McEwan, Sarah Waters, Terry Pratchett, David Attenborough, Tracy Chevalier and Michael Frayn.

The Prize celebrates outstanding popular science books from around the world and is open to authors of science books written for a non-specialist audience. Over the decades, it has championed writers such as Stephen Hawking, Jared Diamond, Stephen Jay Gould and Bill Bryson.

Naomi Alderman commented:
"It's a terrible shame that arts and sciences are so often seen as mutually opposed, and that there's so little understanding of what makes great work in 'the other' culture. So many of the most urgent problems that face us today can only be solved by thinking in an interdisciplinary way. That's why I'm particularly thrilled to be a judge of this Prize, where we'll be looking both for great science and excellent writing and storytelling. There's no reason that a science book can't be a bloody good read, and I can't wait to get stuck in, and to discuss the best new science writing with the other judges."

Chair of judges, Richard Fortey said: “It is a privilege to chair the judging panel for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2017, which has supported the best in science writing for the last 30 years. Public engagement with science has never been more important, and it is clear that writers are rising to the challenge. This year’s submissions offer plenty of evidence of exceptional quality, and prove that the book is still the best way to marry information and pleasure.”

The shortlist for the Prize will be announced on 3 August, and the winner will be crowned at an evening ceremony on 19th September and will receive a cheque for £25,000, with £2,500 awarded to each of the five shortlisted authors. Professor Brian Cox OBE FRS, currently The Royal Society’s Professor for Public Engagement in Science, will be hosting the awards ceremony.