Win $15,000 for an essay on Australian life

The Horne Prize, a collaboration between The Saturday Paper and Aesop is now open.

Do you have a burning idea for an essay on contemporary Australian life? The winner of the 2020 Horne Prize will receive a whopping $15,000.

The prize is named after the late Donald Horne AO, a prominent Australian essayist, to honour his exceptional contribution to Australian letters.

Guidelines for entry

According to the Horne Prize website, the essay must be of exceptional quality, no more than 3,000 words and addressing an aspect of contemporary Australian life. Plus, the essays must be written between 18 September and 9 November 2020 and need to include research and analysis.

What kinds of essays have won in the past?

Previous winners include Rachael Lebester in 2019 for her essay Diary of a wildlife carer, which is “a restrained yet ultimately devastating account of the plight of native fauna in the face of climate change and diminishing biodiversity,” according to the Horne Prize website.

In 2018, Daniel James was awarded the prize for his essay Ten more days, which is described as “a unique, affecting account of intergenerational trauma”.

Who are the judges?

The judges for the 2020 Horne Prize are, (from the website):

  • Tara June Winch – an Aboriginal Australian writer based in France. 
  • Anna Krien – the author of the award-winning Night Games and Into the Woods, as well as two Quarterly Essays, Us and Them and The Long Goodbye
  • Nam Le – author of The Boat, which was translated into 14 languages and received more than a dozen major awards in Australia, America and Europe, including the Australian Prime Minister's Literary Award, the Melbourne Prize, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize. 
  • Maddison Connaughton – editor of The Saturday Paper.
  • Suzanne Santos – Chief Customer Officer, Aesop
  • Kate Torney (Independent moderator) – CEO at State Library Victoria since 2015.


Entries close 9 November 2020.

To find out more about rules and how to enter, visit the Horne Prize website.

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