A Rush author has been named as a finalist for a prestigious book award.
Roslyn Fuller's book In Defence of Democracy has been selected as a finalist for the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the largest international book award for independent and academic publishers.
Roslyn, who is originally from Canada from an Irish-Argentinian family, lives in Rush, credits growing up and living in a rural community for her perspective on the divisive topic covered in her book
She said: 'In Defence of Democracy was written in response to the many academics and pundits arguing that in an age of Trump and Brexit, democracy should take a back-seat and that we should let experts and elites decide political questions on our behalf. To someone who has grown up in a rural community with people from all walks of life, I find this highly dismissive of the vast majority of voters, not to mention deeply concerning for the future of our democracy.'
Roslyn moved to Germany after graduating from secondary school in her native Canada and after studying law, wrote her PhD in International Law at Trinity College. Since then, she has become a leading authority on democracy and using digital technology to increase citizen participation. Her previous book Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed Its Meaning and Lost Its Purpose, which was nominated for the UK Orwell Prize, has seen her speak to colleges and organisations across Europe and North America about the future of democracy and why people should not be left out of the equation.
Since arriving in Ireland, Roslyn has chaired a multicultural writers' collective (which won the MaMa Award in 2011), staged a play at the Irish Writers' Centre and written extensively for both Irish and international media. She has also run in two elections, published three books and carried out the first digital democracy exercise in Ireland. Dubbed 'Fuller Democracy', her online engagement exercise in the run up to the 2016 general election not only helped to inform her election platform but also predicted the result of the referendum on the 8th amendment. Her think tank, the Solonian Democracy Institute, which she set up with academics across the US, South America and Europe two years ago, organised a major democracy conference in 2018, bringing academics and NGOs from around the world to Balbriggan. Since then, the institute has worked with Fingal County Council on the SmartCities initiative as well as supported the Citizens' Assembly on Social Care in the North of Ireland.
The additional attention the recognition has brought to Roslyn's book comes at a crucial time as Covid-19 is changing people's perceptions of what is possible online. As a consequence, she is fielding an increasing number of enquiries from governments.
Roslyn explained: 'I'm speaking to government officials across Europe about moving parliaments, party decisions and constituency engagement online in a way that most people would have considered impossible just six months ago.
'And the technology exists today to take it a step further still - for citizens to cut out the middle man and make political decisions directly. This is how we will improve democracy, not by denying people their say.'
In Defence of Democracy (Polity Press, 2019) is available at most book stores and on Amazon.