Steve Silberman wins the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2015 for his book Neurotribes

2 Nov

From the announcement on the web page for the Samuel Johnson Prize:

Steve Silberman has tonight been named the winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction for his book Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently, published by Allen and Unwin.

Neurotribes chronicles the unique history of societal attitudes and responses to a developmental condition that affects millions of people across the globe. From the clinicians who discovered it, to the MMR vaccine controversy and today’s ‘neurodiversity’ movement, Silberman charts the journey of this complex disorder and seeks to answer the baffling question of why there has been a massive rise in diagnoses.

I will not copy the full announcement, but here’s a taste:

In the end, though, we admired Silberman’s work because it is powered by a strongly argued set of beliefs: That we should stop drawing sharp lines between what we assume to be “normal” and “abnormal,” and that we should remember how much the differently-wired human brain has, can and will contribute to our world. He has injected a hopeful note into a conversation that’s normally dominated by despair.

Congrats, Steve. You earned this.

By Matt Carey.

9 Responses to “Steve Silberman wins the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2015 for his book Neurotribes”

  1. Aletta Sinoff November 3, 2015 at 02:52 #

    Matt, thank you for your blog and thanks a million for sharing this. This great news, like the book it represents, introduces “a hopeful note into a conversation that’s normally dominated by despair” (quotation from the announcement). As the mother of an adult with moderate to severe autism, I am so grateful to Steve Silverman for his work towards changing this conversation.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) November 4, 2015 at 23:43 #


      you may be pleased to hear that his book is being translated into (I believe) 8 languages. It will change the conversation world wide. While the message of despair is strong here in the U.S., it is even more so elsewhere.

      • Aletta November 5, 2015 at 00:41 #

        That’s incredible news. Thanks for beiing on top of what matters.

  2. brian November 3, 2015 at 06:05 #

    I was glad to see Steve Silberman’s triumph mentioned here, since I didn’t notice any appropriately congratulatory messages at Age of Autism, SafeMinds, or the like.

  3. Science Mom November 3, 2015 at 13:14 #

    There was a nice write-up in The Guardian: Congratulations Mr. Silberman.

  4. lizditz November 3, 2015 at 18:19 #

    And here’s Steve’s comment on his acceptance speech.

    In my very brief acceptance speech last night for the Samuel Johnson Prize, I talked about the “invisible people” standing on the stage with me, including autistic people who lived and died in institutions, and parents who were blamed for their children’s autism. Note: This is not a “thank you” speech, or I would have thanked my husband, my mother, my editor, my agent, and many of you. This was something else — inviting the dead to stand with me in honor.

    So much thanks Steve for your vision and generous heart.

  5. novalox November 3, 2015 at 19:13 #

    Congratulations to Mr. Silberman for this honor.

  6. hollywoodjaded November 4, 2015 at 17:16 #

    Congratulations to Mr Silberman, with gracious thanks as well!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: