Andrew Charlton’s Quarterly Essay 44, Man-Made World: Choosing Between Progress and Planet (Black Inc.), has won this year’s John Button Prize for writing on policy and politics.
Charlton, who receives a cash prize of $20,000, was announced as this year’s winner at a special event on Friday 31 August as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival. American philosopher Martha Nussbaum delivered this year’s John Button Oration at the event. Nussbaum made arguments against the laws in Europe that ban Muslim women from wearing the burqa, with a critical analysis of how the laws discriminate against Muslims and attack civil liberties.
The judges described Charlton’s essay as a ‘dispassionate, reasoned and original analysis’ of global attempts to address climate change, particularly the gap in priorities between rich and poor nations. ‘Every Australian over the age of fifteen should read it, then we could start the climate change debate afresh and with a much larger perspective,’ they said.
Charlton’s essay was selected from a shortlist of three, which included Anna Krien’s Quarterly Essay 45, Us and Them: On the Importance of Animals (Black Inc.), and The Australian Moment: How We Were Made for These Times by George Megalogenis (Viking). The titles longlisted for this year’s prize can be seen here.
The John Button Prize is awarded annually to ‘the best piece of thinking and writing on a subject of public policy’. Last year’s prize was awarded to There Goes the Neighbourhood: Australia and the Rise of Asia by Michael Wesley (NewSouth).
More information about the John Button Prize can be found here.