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Calibre Essay Prize - Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t live in Australia and I am not an Australian citizen. Can I still enter the Calibre Essay Prize?
Yes. Anyone can enter the Calibre Essay Prize. But all essays must be written in English.

I’m interested in the Calibre Essay Prize but don’t know much about it. How can I familiarise myself with the competition?
This is the eighteenth time that ABR has presented this prize. Click here for more information about past winners. Subscribers can access all past winning stories, available to read in our online archive or to purchase in hard-copy from our online store. To learn more about becoming a subscriber, click here.

How can I find out more about ABR?
ABR is a cultural magazine that appears in print and online eleven times a year. You can subscribe to the magazine by clicking here, or you can purchase single issues here. Digital subscriptions start from as little as $10 per month.

What are the opening dates for the 2024 Calibre Essay Prize?
Entries opened 23 October 2023 and will close at 11:59pm (AEST) on 22 January 2024.

What are the prizes for the 2024 Calibre Essay Prize
The 2024 Calibre Essay Prize is worth a total of $10,000. The winner will receive $5,000. The second prize is worth $3,000, the third prize, $2,000. All three winning essays will appear in Australian Book Review in 2024 (print and online).

Is there a set theme or topic for the Calibre Essay Prize?
No, we welcome non-fiction essays of all kinds: personal or political, literary or speculative, traditional or experimental.

What is the word limit for the Calibre Essay Prize?
Essays must be between 2,000 and 5,000 words.

Should endnotes be included in the word count?
Yes. The maximum number of words is 5,000. While not rejecting endnotes, we discourage the inclusion of many.

Is ABR an academic journal? Are you looking for academic articles?
ABR is not an academic journal, though our interests are sophisticated and we publish many academics. We are looking for general non-fiction essays that will make brilliant literary journalism.

Are images acceptable?
Yes. You may illustrate your essay, but the total file size should not exceed 3 MB.

Can I enter multiple essays as one entry?
No. Separate entries must be made, and fees paid, for each essay entered into the Calibre Essay Prize. This is to ensure that a record is kept of each essay entered, and also to ensure that payment is successfully made for each. If you purchase a subscription to ABR, subsequent entries can be made at the subscriber rate of AU$20.

Is there a limit to the number of essays I can enter?
No, but as stated above, each essay must be entered and paid for separately as individual entries. If you purchase a subscription to ABR, subsequent entries can be made at the subscriber rate of AU$20 per entry.

Can I submit or publish the work I have entered in the Prize elsewhere while I await notification?
Yes, 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.

I have written an essay with a colleague. Are we eligible to enter the Calibre Essay Prize?
No, entries must be single-authored.

Are translated essays eligible for entry in the Calibre Essay Prize?

To be eligible for entry in the Calibre Essay Prize, essays must not have been previously published. What constitutes ‘publication’?
Publication includes, but is not limited to, publication in print and online (for example in a journal/magazine/anthology or on a website). Publication on a personal blog/website/social media constitutes publication. If an essay has been written and assessed as part of a writing course but has not been distributed further, that does not constitute publication. Please contact us if you are unsure about eligibility at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on (03) 9699 8822.

My essay was shortlisted/longlisted/commended for another prize. May I enter it in the Calibre Essay Prize?
If your essay was shortlisted/commended for another prize but was not published, then it can be entered in the Calibre Essay Prize. Please contact us if you are unsure about eligibility at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on (03) 9699 8822.

My essay was shortlisted/longlisted/commended for a previous Calibre Essay Prize. May I enter it in this year’s Calibre Essay Prize?
Essays that were publicly shortlisted, longlisted or commended in a previous Calibre Essay Prize are ineligible.

Can I enter my essay using a pseudonym?
No, pseudonyms are not permitted. 

Can I enter by post?
No, entries must be submitted online.

How should I format my essay?
Entries should be presented with 1.5 line spacing and in 12 pt font size. The pages should be numbered. Your name must not appear in the manuscript or in the title of the digital file as judging is conducted blind. 

Who is eligible to pay the discounted entry fee?
Current print and/or digital subscribers are able to pay the discounted entry fee of AU$20 per entry. Non-subscribers pay AU$30 per entry. If you would like to subscribe to ABR, click here.

Alternatively, you can purchase a print and/or digital subscription with your entry. We have a variety of options, each listed below. Upon successful payment, your subscription will be automatically ready to use. You will receive an email with your details. After signing in to the website with the Username and Password you have chosen, you will be able to enter any additional essays at the discounted rate.

Current ABR subscribers: $20
Standard/non-subscribers: $30*
Entry + 1-year digital subscription: $100
Entry + 1-year print subscription (Australia): $120
Entry + 1-year print subscription (NZ and Asia): $200
Entry + 1-year print subscription (Rest of World): $220

Note: Print subscribers must provide their subscriber number to be eligible for the discounted rate (this can be found on the flysheet sent out with the magazine, or on renewal notices – alternatively, email us and we will provide you with your subscriber number).

Can I pay with PayPal?
No. At this time we are accepting credit card payments only – Visa and MasterCard.

Will I receive confirmation of payment?
Yes, once you have submitted your online entry and payment form, you will receive a confirmation email at the email address you supplied in the form. Keep a copy for your records. If you cannot find the confirmation email, be sure to check that it has not gone to your spam or junk folders.

Who are the judges this year?
The 2024 judges are Amy Baillieu, Shannon Burns and Beejay Silcox.

Will you give me feedback about my essay?
Unfortunately we don’t have the time or resources to comment on individual essays.

How can I stay in touch with news about the Calibre Essay Prize?
If you have provided us with a current email address we will contact you with news about the Calibre Essay Prize. Another way to stay up-to-date with news about the Prize and other ABR prizes and events is to sign up to our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Where can I find the complete Terms and Conditions of entry?
These can be found here.

My question isn’t answered here, what should I do?
If you have a question about the Calibre Essay Prize that isn't answered here, or in the Terms & Conditions, please contact us via the comments facility below and we will respond when we can (your queries will not be posted publicly). Alternatively, please contact us at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on (03) 9699 8822.

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If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.