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Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine wins first Warwick Prize for Writing

Naomi Klein was announced last night (Tuesday 24 February, 2009) as the winner of the first £50, 000 Warwick Prize for Writing.

The unique new prize, run and self-funded by the University of Warwick, stands out as an international cross-disciplinary biennial award open to any genre or form of writing.

Canadian journalist Klein’s winning book The Shock Doctrine (Penguin) was chosen from a diverse shortlist of six international titles. This year’s prize theme of ‘Complexity’ was interpreted differently by each writer, all experts in their genres, and ranged from music criticism and scientific theory to Spanish fiction.  

Chair judge China Miéville, award-winning author of fantasy fiction, announced the winner at a ceremony at the University of Warwick.  Miéville said:

''Every book on the shortlist was exceptional, but of course it had, ultimately, to come down to one. Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine is a brilliant, provocative, outstandingly written investigation into some of the great outrages of our time. It has started many debates, and will start many more, and we're delighted to award it the first Warwick Prize for Writing.”

Klein’s The Shock Doctrine is based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting.  Using detailed case studies from around the world, Klein charts the rise of disaster capitalism where moments of collective crisis – 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina for example – are exploited by global corporations to usher in radical social and economic change.

David Morley, Director of the Warwick Prize for Writing, comments: “Prizes are important. They offer a beckoning point to a writer. They set the tone of a writer’s progress in the world. The best books defy categorisation. I am therefore delighted that Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine has won the inaugural Warwick Prize for Writing. It is important to recognise her achievement with a prize of international calibre.”

The University of Warwick's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Thrift, said: "I am delighted, that in its very first year, the Warwick Prize for Writing has attracted such an international spread of nominated and short listed publications. This reflects the University of Warwick's own global outlook and the international diversity of its staff and students.  I offer my congratulations to Naomi Klein and hope that she will be able to spend a short time with us as one of the many leading international researchers and writers who elect to spend a period at Warwick as a visiting fellow."
Joining Miéville on this year’s judging panel was journalist Maya Jaggi; novelist, translator and academic Maureen Freely; Britain’s first book blogger Stephen Mitchelmore and University of Warwick mathematician Professor Ian Stewart.

The theme of ‘Colour’ was also announced last night for the 2011 Warwick Prize for Writing.  

- Ends -

For further information on The Warwick Prize for Writing please contact:
Elise Oliver or Ruth Cairns at Colman Getty
Tel: 020 7631 2666  Fax: 020 7631 2699
Email: or

For further information on the University of Warwick please contact:
Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager at the University of Warwick
Tel:  02476 523708 or 07767 655860

Notes to Editors

  • The University of Warwick is one of the UK’s leading research universities. Consistently ranked in the top 10 of all the University league tables produced by UK national newspapers and  ranked 7th among the UK's 100 universities for quality of research (Funding Councils' Research Assessment Exercise, 2008)
  • The £50,000 Warwick Prize is entirely self-funded by the University of Warwick.  The University is able to make such an investment as it generates 63% of its own income
  • In addition to the £50,000 monetary prize, the winning author will be awarded the opportunity to take up a short placement at the University of Warwick
  • The Warwick Prize for Writing is an innovative new literature prize that involves global competition, and crosses all disciplines. The Prize will be given biennially for an excellent and substantial piece of writing in the English language, in any genre or form, on a theme which will change with every award


  • The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein (Penguin)

About the Book

Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting, Naomi Klein explores the theory that our world is increasingly in thrall to a little understood ideology that is conquering the globe by systematically exploiting moments of disaster and trauma. This is the shock doctrine.

Using detailed case studies from around the world, Klein explores how the shock doctrine uses moments of collective crisis – 9/11, the tsunami, Hurricane Katrina or the Falklands war for example – to usher in radical social and economic change beneficial to Wild West corporations when people are traumatised: effectively, when they are in a state of shock. Klein coins this phenomenon disaster capitalism.

About the Author

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, author and filmmaker. Her first book, the international bestseller No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, was translated into 28 languages and called “a movement bible” by The New York Times. She writes an internationally syndicated column for The Nation and The Guardian and reported from Iraq for Harper’s magazine. In 2004, she released The Take, a feature documentary about Argentina’s occupied factories, co-produced with director Avi Lewis. She is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia.

  • The six shortlisted titles chosen from a longlist of 20 were:

Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800

Lisa Appignanesi


The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed Bishop Gerardi?

Francisco Goldman

Atlantic Books

Reinventing the Sacred

Stuart A Kauffman

Perseus - Basic Books


The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Naomi Klein


The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century

Alex Ross

4th Estate,

Harper Collins

Montano's Malady

Enrique Vila-Matas (translator: Jonathan Dunne)

New Directions