Literary Prizes

Previously known as 'Prize Compositions', Literary Prizes have a long history at the University of Sydney with many of them dating from bequests left to the University at the beginning of the last century, bringing a sense of tradition to the awards.

The University of Sydney reserves the right not to award a prize if submissions are not deemed to be of sufficient standard.

How to apply:
All applications for the Literary Prizes must be made via this form.

Applicants who graduated from The University of Sydney within two years or less may be able to apply (check eligibility under each prize description).

Applications will be open from 11 July 2016 until 5 August 2016 at 5pm.
Results will be announced by Monday 31st of October

Beauchamp Prizes

Founded in 1901 by a gift of £625 from his Excellency the Right Honourable William Lygon, Earl Beauchamp, KCMG, Governor of New South Wales. These composition prizes are awarded for the best essays on (i) some literary subject and (ii) some historical subject.

To be considered for the literary prize write an essay on some literary subject. The essay should be 5,000 - 7,500 words in length, and appropriate for publication in an academic journal.

To be considered for the historical prize write an essay on some historical subject. The essay should be 5,000 - 7,500 words in length, and appropriate for publication in an academic journal.

Eligibility: This prize is open to all currently enrolled students and graduates who are of not more than two years’ standing from the date of their graduation.

Value: $4,000 each

Henry Lawson Prize for Poetry

Established in 1936 by a gift of £845 from subscribers to the memorial of Henry Lawson, Australian poet and prose-writer, to provide for a ‘Henry Lawson Prize for Poetry’.
This prize is awarded annually for English verse. The composition need not be of great length, though sustained quality will receive due credit. Topic is of the candidate's choice.

Eligibility: The competition is open to undergraduates who have no graduate status in any faculty.

Value: $1,400

Henry Lawson Prize for Prose

Established in 1936 by a gift of £845 from subscribers to the memorial of Henry Lawson, Australian poet and prose-writer, to provide for a ‘Henry Lawson Prize for Prose’.
This prize is awarded annually for an original composition on an Australian theme. Compositions should take the form of a short story or descriptive sketch and need not be of great length, though sustained quality will receive due credit.

Eligibility: The competition is open to undergraduates who have no graduate status in any faculty.

Value: $1,500

Nicholson Medal

In 1866, the sum of £200 was set aside by the Senate for the purpose of permanently founding a medal to be called the ‘Nicholson Medal’ in honour of Sir Charles Nicholson, Bt, MD Edin. Hon. DCL Oxf. Hon. LLD Camb., Provost 1854-59, Chancellor 1860-61, to provide an annual prize for Latin verse. Awarded annually, on the recommendation of the Professor of Classics, for either:

  • translation of a set piece into Latin verse
  • translation of a set piece of Latin verse into English verse
  • an essay on a prescribed topic in the field of Latin poetry, which may be a regular essay set for a Senior course in Latin

Eligibility: The competition is open to all currently enrolled students and graduates who are of not more than two years’ standing from the date of their graduation.

Value: $1,500 plus a medal

Topic for 2016 is: Translate Statius Silvae 4.7.1-24 into English Verse. Please provide a short discussion (no more than 300 words) of what you were trying to achieve in your translation and the challenges that you faced.

Robert A. Dallen Prize

Founded in 1929 by an endowment of £150 by Mr Robert A Dallen for an annual prize.

Eligibility: The prize is open to final year Faculty of Arts and Social Science students or graduates of not more than two years' standing from the date of their graduation.

Value: $1,600

Topic for 2016 is: Candidates are invited to submit an essay (should be about 4,000 words in length, and appropriate for publication in a scholarly journal) on " “The influence of the Bible on English Literature”.

Venour V. Nathan Prize

Founded in 1922 by a gift of £500 from Venour V. Nathan for an annual prize in Australian or Imperial history.

Eligibility: The prize is open to all currently enrolled students and graduates who are of not more than two years’ standing from the date of their graduation.

Two awards will be made each year:

  • One for the best essay from a student currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree (limit of 3000 words).
  • One for the best essay from a student currently enrolled in a postgraduate degree or a graduate of not more than two years standing from the date of their graduation (limit of 5000 words).

Value: $4,000 (which may be shared if there is more than one awardee)

Candidates are invited to submit an essay on a subject connected with Australian or Imperial History.

Adrian Consett Stephen Memorial Prize

Established in 1944 by a bequest of £100 from Emilie A.C. Stephen. Awarded annually to an undergraduate for a short story or play following recommendation from the Professors of English for the best entry.

Eligibility: This competition is limited to undergraduates only.

Value: $200

H.M. Moran Prize

Established in 1945 by a gift of £250 from Dr H.M. Moran, for an annual essay prize. The topic shall be of the candidate’s own choice, within the field of the history of science and medicine in Australia (limit of 5,000 words).

Eligibility: Open to undergraduates only.

Value: $1,250