2020 Calibre Essay Prize

Update from Australian Book Review - April 2020

Thank you to all those who entered the 2020 Calibre Essay Prize. Because of the pandemic and ABR’s general preoccupation following the Australia Council’s incomprehensible decision not to fund the magazine, deliberations on the Calibre Essay Prize have been delayed; but we expect to notify all entrants this month.

Prize money: $7,500

Closed: 15 January 2020, 11:59 pm

Judges: J.M. Coetzee, Lisa Gorton, and Peter Rose

Entries have now closed for the 2020 Calibre Essay Prize, worth a total of AU$7,500. The Calibre Essay Prize is open to all essayists writing in English. We seek essays of between 2,000 and 5,000 words on any subject. We welcome essays of all kinds: personal or political, literary or speculative, traditional or experimental. Founded in 2007, the Calibre Prize is one of the world’s leading prizes for a new non-fiction essay.

First place will receive $5,000, and second place will receive $2,500.

Click the link for more information about past winners and to read their essays.

Please read our Frequently Asked Questions before contacting us with queries about the Calibre Prize.

Before entering the Calibre Essay Prize, all entrants must read the Terms and Conditions.



Entries may be offered elsewhere during the judging of the Calibre Prize. If an entrant is longlisted and has their essay offered elsewhere, the entrant will have 24 hours to decide if they would like to withdraw their essay on offer elsewhere or from the Calibre Prize. Exclusivity is essential for longlisted essays. The overall winning essay will be published in the magazine in the May 2020 with the runner-up to be published later in the year.


Entry fees

Online entry (current ABR subscriber) - $15
Online entry (full-time student) - $15
Online entry (standard/non subscriber) - $25*

*Non-subscribers will receive the digital edition of ABR free of charge for four months. Eligible entrants will be emailed with details when this complimentary subscription has been activated within the month following entry.

Special online entry + subscription bundles:
Subsequent entries may be submitted at the subscriber rate

Online entry + Digital subscription - $65
Online entry + Print subscription (Australia) - $100
Online entry + Print subscription (NZ and Asia) - $165
Online entry + Print subscription (Rest of World) - $180


We gratefully acknowledge the long-standing support of Colin Golvan AM QC and Peter and Mary-Ruth McLennan.