Top international award for New Zealand plain language expert
Lynda Harris has received the prestigious Christine Mowat Plain Language Achievement Award at a conference in Dublin,
Ireland. The award recognises Lynda’s exceptional contribution to advancing plain language at local, national, and
international levels. The award also acknowledges Lynda as representing the plain language profession with the highest
integrity and skill.
Lynda is the founder and chief executive of New Zealand plain language consultancy Write Limited. The company offers
consulting services to clients throughout New Zealand and overseas.
The award was announced at the tenth PLAIN conference attended by communications practitioners in a range of disciplines
from around the world. The judging panel commented on the extent of Lynda’s experience and her many contributions to the
field of clear communication.
‘This was an outstanding nomination’, said Deborah Bosley, President of PLAIN International. ‘We’re delighted to honour
Lynda as an inspiring and visionary leader in her field. She has significantly advanced the plain language profession
through her company’s work, especially her applied research into the business benefits of plain language in
Researching the business benefits of plain language
During her career, Lynda has carried out significant applied research in plain language. She has used this research to
develop standards and models for plain language and organisational transformation. These include the WriteMark® Plain
English Standard, New Zealand’s document quality mark, and the Rewrite for Change™ Model, a framework for organisational
Publishing a handbook for organisational change
Her research and experience in the field of plain language have resulted in a recently published book called Rewrite: How to overcome daily sabotage of your brand and profit. Rewrite covers the essential steps for successfully instilling a plain language culture in any organisation.
In Rewrite, Lynda draws on her own company’s experiences in getting the benefits of clear communication through to an
organisation’s bottom line. She reports on real links between plain language culture projects and their impact on return
on investment and organisational success. The case studies are both international and New Zealand-based and have not
previously been published in this depth.
Promoting clear communication in the community
Lynda is the founder and major sponsor of the annual not-for-profit WriteMark Plain English Awards, now in their tenth
year in New Zealand. The Awards help to create awareness and public demand for plain language, and encourage members of
the public to celebrate clear communication. Lynda is also the New Zealand representative for Clarity, a worldwide
network of professionals committed to promoting plain legal language.
Joining other award winners
Lynda is the fifth person to receive the Christine Mowat Plain Language Achievement Award since its inception in 2007,
and the first New Zealander to do so. Previous award winners include Martin Cutts, author of the Oxford Guide to Plain English, and Barbro Ehrenberg-Sundin, formerly a language expert in the Swedish Government offices.
The award is endowed by Christine Mowat, a distinguished figure in the clear communications field and author of A Plain Language Handbook for Legal Writers. Christine founded Wordsmith Associates, a Canada-based writing and training company more than 30 years ago.