A simple story, done properly, isn’t so simple. It requires craft. Fifty years of writing columns has persuaded Tony Wright that a simple story can beat a path to readers’ hearts and minds. It effectively conveys opinion and analysis without hitting anyone over the head.

Wright said: “One of my methods is to incorporate history to convey a message. If something has happened before, it most likely will happen again. History is often so surprising that it will capture the reader. A reader captured is a reader looking for meaning. At that point, my job as an opinion writer’s work is done. The reader is left to take whatever they wish from what is being made of the subject being analysed.”

Tony Wright is associate editor and special writer for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. Raised and educated in far south-west Victoria, he started as a cadet at tri-weekly The Portland Observer in 1970. He has reported from the Canberra Press Gallery and filed from throughout the world for The Canberra Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Bulletin. He has written plays and two best-selling books.

Judges’ comments:

Tony Wright’s columns were superbly crafted, clearly demonstrating the power of history used well. The pieces provided an incisive perspective, as Wright gently critiqued the issues in evocative prose. Filled with humanity, they were also thoroughly enjoyable.