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John Lorinc wins $60,000 Balsillie Prize for Public Policy

John Lorinc was named the winner of the 2022 Balsillie Prize for Public Policy at a private dinner in Toronto on November 29.

Lorinc won the $60,000 prize for his book Dream States: Smart Cities, Technology, and the Pursuit of Urban Utopias (Coach House Books).

In their citation, the jury – author and physician Samantha Nutt, policy expert Taki Sarantakis, and digital strategist Scott Young – said that Lorinc “offers a framework for thinking about the future of urban living” and “compels readers to consider the future of cities not only in the post-pandemic period, but also amid an accelerating and worsening climate crisis.”

The Balsillie Prize is administered by the Writers’ Trust and recognizes nonfiction books that advance policy discussions about social, political, economic, and cultural topics that are relevant to Canadians. It is funded by tech entrepreneur Jim Balsillie as part of his commitment to supporting Canadian literature.

“Incisively written and deftly argued, John Lorinc’s Dream States invites us to examine our sprawling 21st century cities to better understand how and why they are being so transformed,” Writers’ Trust executive director Charlie Foran said in a release. “It isn’t only about technology and city-building. It is about our collective dreams, and sometimes nightmares, for these shared living spaces. A public policy book that should get people talking, and thinking, and acting differently.”

Lorinc, the second winner of the prize, was one of five finalists for this year’s award. Each finalist receives $5,000. The finalists were chosen from 53 books submitted by 31 publishers.