I just won the Association of British Science Writers' Best Newcomer award!

By Ed Yong | July 1, 2009 7:17 pm

What a night.

Tonight, during the gala dinner of the World Conference of Science Journalists, I won the Association of British Science Writers’ award for Best Newcomer 2009, collecting  a certificate, an award and prize money in the Natural History Museum’s central hall. In front of me: hundreds of international science journalists and Dippy the Diplodocus. Behind me: a statue of Charles Darwin. If that isn’t reward for efforts in writing about science, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, the award was a result of popular vote from members of the ABSW, so my heartiest thanks to anyone and everyone who voted, to Natasha for a lovely introduction and to everyone who came up and said congratulations. It’s a superlative honour and it was a pleasure to have met you all. Memo to self: winning an award makes networking, an activity I loathe and dread with a fiery passion, remarkably easy and passive.

I find it incredibly interesting that amid the unsaid conference themes of saving journalism, the rise of new media, and what actually qualifies as journalism, that this award should go to someone who freelances as a journalist but also works in science communication and blogs. I’m going to start describing myself as a triple-reassortant science writer.

Anyway, a couple of amusing things are worth noting. Firstly, my name is spelled wrongly in different ways on both the certificate (Ed Wong) and the tube it came in (Ed Young). A lovely lady from the ABSW took my address down to send me a corrected version, but I may try and see if any particularly wealthy Ed Wongs would like to buy the original.

The book I was given is this, and I have a history with it. I wrote about 2% of it as one of my first ever freelance gigs about two years ago. The cheeky publishers never sent me (nor any of the other contributor, nor indeed the editors) any copies so it’s great to finally have one (and amusing to hear screams of, “I never got a copy either!” throughout the evening.  

And finally, the setting was really special. I first came to London almost 20 years ago to the day, and the Natural History Museum was one of the things that made me fall in love with the city and, indeed, the country. It was where I saw my first dinosaur skeletons. It was where I first heard of some guy called David Attenborough and bought something called Life on Earth. I go back every year for the photography competition and a spot of ice-skating. The NHM is one of my favourite places and the fact that this happened there just made it that much more special.

If there’s one thing I regret, it’s that later on in the evening, they played Carmina Burana through the speakers. Not exactly the music-of-choice for a relaxed chat over wine, but also why couldn’t they have played it while I was climbing up to get the award? That would have been awesome.


Comments (48)

  1. Hey, that’s great. Well-deserved. Congrats.

  2. Bob Williams

    Congratulations! And I give you my own personal award. I print out many articles for further reference and study but when I come to your blog, I never stop to examine whether what you present is worth having. I know it will be and I print it out automatically.

  3. chezjake

    Congrats, Ed. It’s good to see your talents recognized. In my book, you’re right up there with Carl Zimmer in presenting science to the curious layman.

  4. Congratulations, Ed! I cannot think of anyone who deserved it more. Thank you, as well, for your continued coverage of the events on Twitter. Your work is truly science blogging/writing at its best.

  5. Congratulations again Ed. Hope you get the corrected certificate soon!

  6. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!! Way to go!!!!!!

  7. Yay Ed! You totally deserve it. I also hate networking, perhaps I just need to win something…

  8. That is awesome. :) Congratulations.

  9. Congratulations Ed whatever-your-name-is

  10. Congratulations, Ed! There’s no science writer I’m aware of who is more deserving than you. Keep up the outstanding work!

  11. Congratulations, Ed! That’s spectacular!

  12. let me say again: Bully for you, Ed! Well-deserved — and clearly well-enjoyed. Wish I could have been there to shout a huzzah! But when I next get to London, will do my best to buy you a cold one and raise my own in your honor.

  13. Yay, Ed! Congratulations! I cannot believe you don’t enjoy networking – you totally have the wit and sense of humor for it. Anyway, congrats again on an award well deserved!

  14. Well done, Ed – hopefully will be able to congratulate you in person today!

  15. Gammidy

    I’m not at all surprised by that news. I stumbled upon this blog a few weeks ago and I am blown over by the range, depth and quality of the writing. I don’t know how you do it Ed, but please keep it up.

  16. Jen

    Congratulations- it’s well deserved.

  17. Hoorah to you Sir! Well deserved, chip chip and all that.
    Seriously, nice to see there are others out there with good taste who know a Talent when they read him. Sounds like a wonderful and at the same time surreal evening.
    I’m not sure what it says when a journalism award so spectacularly misspell your name twice! Hilarious.
    Keep up the great work.

  18. abibrown

    Congrats Edmundo! It’s great to have your talent radiating through the office ;o)

  19. Richard

    Ummm, congratulations again. Wish I could think of something original to say. Fried numerological triage. I guess that’ll have to do.

  20. Congratulations ED, it’s nice to see that we’re not the only ones who think that your writing is great!

  21. no1uno

    Well deserved award. I loved the background information that you shared. It put the award into sharp perspective and provide a couple belly laughs this morning. I hope this award is a being of a life long trend. Keep writing!

  22. Ian

    You earned it, Ed!

  23. bric

    Congratulations Yong sin sang! When’s the TV series?

  24. Anna K.

    Well deserved!!

  25. Al

    Congratulations! I can certainly sympathize with the name mistake. My name (Young) has been changed into your name (Yong) a few times, although I get Jung more often.

  26. Erin

    Absolutely deserved. Congratulations x 10!

  27. You didn’t just win it. You earned it.

  28. Subramanyam

    Hearty Congragulations. You deserve it.

  29. Well done, Ed! You certainly earned it–NERS is one of my favorite Scienceblogs.

  30. May

    Congratulations! 😀

  31. whether yong, wong, or young, much deserved congrats

  32. Henry

    The look on your face as it dawned on you you’d won… priceless. Congrats dude – chuffed for you. H

  33. Congratulations and well deserved!

  34. Congratulations, it couldn’t have gone to a better guy. :)

  35. Dennis

    Look at you, Mr. Big Shot! Couldn’t have been a better selection. Congratulations.

  36. sanmccarron


  37. françoise ibarrondo

    congratulations, ed: we are a lot, all over the world, to begin each day by reading your blog and wandering how you do so much work. françoise from paris

  38. “Behind every great man is a great woman.”
    Congratulations and thank you, Alice, for providing Ed with the inspiration and support to bring his gifts to us.

  39. Well done and well deserved, Ed.

  40. This is awesome, and really very well-deserved indeed. Congratulations!
    I had just recently recommended you to a press officer as an awesome blogger-journalist – I think I may have to email him again and say “see? I told you this guy was good!”

  41. lex

    you certainly do deserve it. congratulations.

  42. Congratulations!
    You continue to be one of the most accessible writers of science around, and I am always touting your work with my kids and other science teachers. I’m looking forward to going home the UK for a break next week and reading it in paper form.
    Great job, well earned.

  43. Carren

    Wow – Great News. I recently came across NERS so still got loads of previous entries to read :) Your blog is interesting and easy to read, with a great variety of subjects. Congrats from South Africa

  44. Congratulations, Ed! It’s well deserved. My father has your book and has enjoyed reading it.

  45. As a blog reader, I am readily on the lookout for information that are both awesome and pleasing to read and I must say your blog passed with high honors. Thank you so much for the wonderful content you have created! Will be coming back soon!


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Not Exactly Rocket Science

Dive into the awe-inspiring, beautiful and quirky world of science news with award-winning writer Ed Yong. No previous experience required.

See More

Collapse bottom bar