Berlin-based journalist Trish Lorenz has won the $100,000 (£71,000) Nine Dots Prize and a book deal with Cambridge University Press for her "compelling and well-evidenced" response to the question "What does it mean to be young in an ageing world?"
Lorenz’s winning essay argued that no question of what it means to be young in the 21st century should overlook the significant youth populations of sub-Saharan African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia. She proposes to conduct in-depth interviews with the youth population in Nigeria as a case study. The country is one of the youngest countries in the world, where more than 42% of the population is under 14 years old.
Chair of the Nine Dots Prize board, Professor Simon Goldhill, said: “The board was thoroughly convinced by Trish’s compelling and well-evidenced argument that the 2021/2022 question could only be answered in this way, and by the authenticity and rigour of her approach. We very much look forward to reading the book she will now write on the topic.”
Lorenz said: “I am very excited to have been chosen as this year’s winner. The topic is a subject that’s close to my heart – in my travels to African countries I’ve always been struck by the energy, commitment and positivity of the young people I’ve met. I’m very happy that the prize will give me a chance to learn more about some of their lives, achievements and ambitions and to share their stories more widely across the world.”
The Nine Dots Prize is an award for a book that has not yet been written. Every two years, its board sets a question and invites people to respond with a 3,000-word essay and a book proposal. The winner receives $100,000, which enables them to spend time researching, developing their ideas, and turning their essay response into a full-length book which is published by Cambridge University Press.
Nearly 700 potential books were submitted in response to the 2021/2022 question, from 92 different countries around the world. They were judged anonymously by the prize’s 12-strong board of leading academics, journalists and thinkers.
As part of the prize win, Lorenz is invited to spend a term at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities (CRASSH) department at Cambridge University. Her book will be published by Cambridge University Press in May 2022 in a variety of formats, including Open Access.