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: Please provide the original plus one copy. Attach this cover sheet to the original. Include only your nom de plume on the copy. Please do not put your real name on the copy.

Applications may be left at the Scholarships reception desk on Level 5 Jane Foss Russell building in an envelope clearly marked:

Scholarships and Financial Support Service
Name of Literary prize

Deadline: Applications for University of Sydney Literary Prizes close on Thursday, 7 August 2014.

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. This composition prize is awarded for the best essays on (i) a literary subject, or (ii) a 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 2014 is: Translate Aetna 43-64 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 Facultyt 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 2014 is: Candidates are invited to submit an essay on "The influence of the Bible on later culture and literature" or have reference to it.

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 may 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

Prize not available for 2014. Prize is under review.

H.M. Moran Prize

Established in 1945 by a gift of £250 from Dr H.M. Moran, for an annual essay prize.

Eligibility: Open to undergraduates only.
Value: $1,250

Prize not available for 2014. Prize is under review.


Gavin Mooney Memorial Essay Competition

The Gavin Mooney Memorial Essay Competition is a joint project of the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, the public health blog Croakey, and Inside Story, an online current affairs publication from the Swinburne Institute for Social Research.

Each year the competition will call for entries related to a theme around equity and social justice. The inaugural competition will recognise an essay related to the theme of climate change and equity, in recognition of the work of Professor Mooney’s late partner Dr Delys Weston.

Eligibility: Entry is open to anyone, in Australia or overseas, whether academics, writers, journalists or citizens. Applicants should submit an essay of not more than 5,000 words exploring the theme of climate change and equity, at a local, national or international level.

For all information regarding this Competition, application criteria, and submission deadline, please refer to the Gavin Mooney webpage.