first female solo winner (Wired UK)

Random House

The first solo female author to win the Royal Society’s prestigious Winton Prize says she hopes her victory is a “sign of a more level playing field” for all writers.

Gaia Vince, a journalist specialising in science, the environment and social issues, was awarded the prize for Adventures in Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet we Made, an exploration of the Earth in ‘a new age’ dominated by our species. 

The prize, which celebrates science writing for a non-specialist audience, has also been awarded to big names like Stephen Hawking, Bill Bryson and Jared Diamond over its 28 year history, but had only featured one woman on its prizewinners list —  Pat Shipman, co-author of The Wisdom of the Bones. 

Adventures in Anthropocene follows Vince’s two-year journey across the planet as she explores how human behaviour has shaped the living planet and how these forces have changed our relationship with the natural world.

Anthropocene posits that the world is currently entering a new epoch in which geological processes are primarily affected by human activity rather than other natural causes. 

Vince told WIRED she was “shocked and delighted” to be awarded the prize.

“This book tells the story of remarkable women and men from remote parts of the world who are living at the frontline of humanity’s planetary changes and dealing with the consequences in ingenious, inspiring ways,” she said via email.

Vince quit her job as editor of Nature to travel the world for the book, meeting people whose lives and homes have been disrupted by geological disasters such as biodiversity loss, erratic weather, glacial melt and forced migrations — and at one point even catching malaria herself.

“I hope this prize allows their stories to reach a wider audience, and reminds everyone that human brilliance is not just the product of famous scientists in big universities, but can come from the most surprising places.”

“Women have long lagged behind men in being awarded literary prizes, but I’m hopeful that wins by me and other women are sign of a more level playing field being established for all writers”. 

Judges praised the book for highlighting the “important urgency” it used to advocate solutions to the geographic crises. 

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25 September 2015 | 11:27 am – Source:


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