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Irene Adler Prize

Scholarship Sponsored by Lucas Aykroyd

Value: $1,000
Awards Available: 3
Deadline : May 30, 2023

I’ve been very fortunate, and it’s time for me to give back. With the Irene Adler Prize, I’m awarding a $1,000 scholarship to a woman pursuing a degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution.

From 2017 to 2022, the annual essay competition featured U.S. and Canadian entrants exclusively. As of 2023, the competition is open to entrants worldwide, and up to two $250 honorable mentions will be also awarded.

My mother is a journalist and my sister works in publishing. The editors who gave me my big breaks with the New York Times, the Washington Post, and National Geographic are all female. Nearly every story of mine that’s won an award was assigned by a woman. Teachers, librarians, publicists, literary agents, fellow writers…I could go on. Women have had a huge impact on my career.

In today’s challenging climate, I want to let my female colleagues know – past, present and future – that they and their work are respected and valued. This is not to minimize men. It’s to help maximize the talents of the other 50 percent of the world’s population, which is too frequently shortchanged. The time is right.

Eligibility Guidelines

1) Entry is free of charge.

2) There is no age restriction.

3) The Irene Adler Prize winner will receive a $1,000 US scholarship. Up to two awards of $250 apiece will be given for honorable mentions.

4) The competition is open to women commencing or continuing to pursue a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in 2023-24.

5) Applicants may hail from any country worldwide.

6) The application period begins on January 30, 2023. The deadline is May 30, 2023. No late applications will be accepted.

7) Each application consists of two (2) elements:

  • A 500-word essay in English based on one of the following five essay prompts:
  • A completed entry form

8) The essay and entry form are to be emailed as separate attachments

9) There is a limit of one (1) entry per person. Multiple entries by the same person will be disqualified.

10) Entries will be judged on content, originality, structure, and overall writing quality by Lucas Aykroyd, the prize administrator. The administrator’s decisions are final.

11) Plagiarized entries will be disqualified.

12) The winner will be announced on August 1, 2023. Honorable mentions will be awarded at the judge’s discretion.

13) The prize administrator reserves the right to publish the winning essay and the author’s name on lucasaykroyd.com and to publicize it through various media channels.

14) Proof of enrollment at a recognized post-secondary institution for 2023-24 must be supplied before the prize is paid out. This can consist of a) a proof of enrollment letter or certificate from the institution’s registrar’s office b) an official tuition bill c) a schedule of classes.

15) The $1,000 US prize payment and $250 honorable mention payments are intended to be applied to educational expenses such as tuition fees. They will be made directly to the winner’s post-secondary institution, with two exceptions: a) if the post-secondary institution in question will not accept a direct payment b) if the winner attends a post-secondary institution that charges no or minimal tuition fees.

16) Payment of any applicable taxes is the responsibility of the winner.

17) The Irene Adler Prize is a one-time award. Past winners of the $1,000 scholarship are not eligible to compete again. However, entrants who have earned honorable mentions in previous Irene Adler Prize competitions remain eligible.

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