Celebrated author Richard Dawkins announced the winner of New Zealand’s first prize for popular science writing.

Speaking by video link from Britain to an audience of 800 at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival on Friday 15 May, Richard Dawkins declared The Awa Book of New Zealand Science to be the inaugural winner of the Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize.

The Awa Book of New Zealand Science







The Awa Book of
New Zealand Science

Rebecca Priestly


Edited by Rebecca Priestley (Awa Press)
RRP NZ$48.00

An anthology of writing that traces the development of New Zealand science and the extraordinary discoveries made by New Zealand scientists.

The fifty pieces include the early naturalists’ observations, geological accounts of the famous pink and white terraces, Ernest Rutherford’s splitting of the atom, modern breakthroughs in nanotechnology, and the recent discovery of an extra-solar planet.

Judges Comments:

A time and space machine that takes us from pohutukawa to polymers and into the hearts, minds and discoveries of New Zealand scientists, the brilliantly edited Awa Book of New Zealand Science presents a new unofficial history of Aotearoa that records and reenacts the role science has played all along in our life and art.

Shortlist for 2009 Science Book Prize

About the Science Book Prize

The definition of popular science books, for the purpose of this prize, is: books about science which do not require a specialist knowledge in the subject of the book in order to be read, enjoyed and understood.”

Reference and children’s books, and books which are essentially illustrative, will not be eligible for the prize, but the judges will accept books of fiction, poetry or drama, provided the central focus is on science.

The judges are:

  • Professor Jean Fleming, University of Otago
  • Associate Professor Harry Ricketts, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Professor Brian Boyd, The University of Auckland