Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake wins The Royal Society Science Book Prize 2021

The Royal Society Science Book Prize 2021 has been awarded to biologist and writer Merlin Sheldrake for Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures, his exploration of the remarkable world of fungi and of their role in nature's processes.

The book was one of our favourite books of 2020 when it was published in hardback and Liz Robinson commented: "This absolutely fascinating LoveReading Star Book about the wonder of fungi is quite simply an eye-opening must-read."

Sheldrake received the £25,000 prize at a ceremony hosted by Professor Brian Cox at the Royal Society, in this the 34th year of the annual prize.

The prize, which celebrates the very best in popular science writing from around the world, was chaired  by world-leading immunologist, presenter and writer, Professor Luke O’Neill FRS. He was joined on the panel by representatives from across the worlds of science and culture: television presenter, Ortis Deley mathematician and Dorothy Hodgkin Royal Society Fellow, Dr Anastasia Kisil author and creative writing lecturer, Christy Lefteri, and journalist, writer and film maker Clive Myrie

Chair of the Judges O'Neill said: “Entangled Life is a fantastic account of the world of fungi, which to the uninitiated might seem unpromising as a topic, but which Merlin Sheldrake brings alive in the most vivid of ways. We learn all kinds of interesting things about fungi, from how they helped plants colonise land (which means without them we wouldn't be here) to how they form huge networks allowing trees to communicate (in the form of the 'Wood Wide Web'), to stories of fungus-gathering enthusiasts, how fungi might help save the planet by digesting plastic, and even how they can manipulate our minds.  This is science writing at its very best, which yet again emphasises how the scientific method is so important in our effort to understand the world around us."

Writers shortlisted for the prize received £25,000 each. The other shortlisted books were: 

The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers by Emily Levesque 

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor 

The End of Bias: How We Change Our Minds by Jessica Nordell 

The Sleeping Beauties: And Other Stories of Mystery Illness by Suzanne O'Sullivan 

Science Fictions: Exposing Fraud, Bias, Negligence and Hype in Science by Stuart Ritchie

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