Darren.Osborne at csiro.au Darren.Osborne at csiro.au
Thu May 13 11:43:23 EST 2004


May 2004


For the first time, Australian science writers will be suitably
recognised for their work as part of the Queensland Premier's Literary
Awards, according to Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Peter Andrews.

The winner of the inaugural science writers award will receive $15,000
for their work promoting and explaining the benefits of science to the
wider community, including the role that science plays in improving
health and well-being, and our culture.

Professor Andrews believes the science writers award, plus the 13 others
that make up the event are an illustration of how Queensland is proving
itself to be the Smart State.

"American innovation thinker, Richard Florida, in his a book on the
'creative class' proposes that there are significant economic advantages
in cities where there is a strong creative culture," Professor Andrews

"These awards are all about celebrating the creativity that comes from
literary works."

He said science writing played a very important role in developing
Australia's creativity.

"Writing about science in a way that translates complex information into
concepts that are readily understood and relevant to the wider community
is a great challenge," he said.

"It's easy to write a totally positive story about a new medical
breakthrough or a totally negative one about global warming, but we
really need as a community is balanced information that helps us all to
weigh up the pros and cons."

Professor Andrews said it was a wonderful coincidence that possibly the
first use of biotechnology happened at the same time that humans started

"The Encyclopaedia Britannica credits the Sumerians, who lived in
Mesopotamia (c4000BC), as developing the first writing system called
coniform script," he said.

"But, they were also the first people to invent the technology for
fermenting grain to make beer. So, it is interesting to learn that they
combined their writing skills and knowledge of cultivation to
communicate their process. 

"Clay tablets have been found that illustrate how the Sumerians managed
their daily ration of beer allotted to each citizen."

Entries in the science writers award can be either print or electronic
media published between 1 July 2003 and 30 June 2004. They can be a
book, television or radio feature/script, feature article or series
published in a newspaper, journal or magazines or online. Academic
pieces are ineligible.

Entries are due on 4 June 2004, the shortlist is announced on 3
September and the winner will be presented on 29 September.

The Queensland Premier's Literary Awards offer a total prize money of
$225,000 making them the richest writing event in Australia.

For further information about the awards visit
<http://www.literaryawards.qld.gov.au> www.literaryawards.qld.gov.au or
call (07) 3224 5783.

Media contact: Jason Steinberg (07) 3235 4346

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