2020 Calibre Essay Prize Terms & Conditions

Entry deadline

  1. Entries for the 2020 Calibre Essay Prize will be accepted until midnight, 15 January 2020.



  1. The winner will receive AU$5,000 in May 2020.
  2. The runner-up will receive AU$2,500 in May 2020.


Who can enter?

  1. Entries are welcome from writers writing in English anywhere in the world.
  2. There is no age limit.
  3. ABR staff, board members, and editorial advisers are not eligible to enter. 
  4. ABR contributors and volunteers may enter.


How to enter

  1. Entries must be submitted online via the ABR website entry page.
  2. Multiple entries are permitted, but each must be entered as separate transactions.
  3. The author’s name must not appear in the essay or in the name of the digital file because judging is conducted blind.
  4. Entrants will receive automatic confirmation of receipt to the email address used when entering.



  1. Entries are only permitted in Word documents (.doc or .docx)
  2. Essays must be written in English.
  3. Entries must be a single non-fiction essay of 2,000 to 5,000 words (any endnotes should be included in that word count).
  4. The text should be presented with 1.5 line spacing and in 12 pt font size.
  5. The pages should be numbered.
  6. The file name should only include the title of the essay. Entrants should not include their own name in the file name.
  7. Images are allowed, but the total file size must not exceed 3MB.



  1. Entries may be offered elsewhere during the judging of the Calibre Prize.
  2. If an entrant is longlisted and has offered their essay 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.
  3. Exclusivity is essential for longlisted essays to remain in contention.
  4. The longlist will be announced in May 2020 when the winning essays will also be announced. However, it is our expectation that the authors of non-shortlisted essays will be notified in March or April 2020.


What does it cost to enter an essay?

  1. Each entry must be accompanied by an entry fee of AU$25, or AU$15 for current ABR To qualify for the lower entry fee, entrants must hold a current one-year subscription to our print or digital edition or be a full-time student.
  2. If you don’t already have a digital subscription, you can purchase a one-year digital subscription and enter a single essay for a total of AU$65. You can then enter subsequent essays at the discounted rate of $15 each.
  3. If you don’t already subscribe to ABR’s print edition, you can purchase a one-year subscription and enter a single essay for the following rates: $100 (Australia), $165 (New Zealand/Asia), or $180 (ROW). You can then enter subsequent essays at the discounted rate of $15 each.


Terms and conditions

  1. Entries must be original works written by an individual author.
  2. Entries must not infringe upon anyone’s copyright.
  3. Essays that are deemed to be works of plagiarism will be disqualified.
  4. Previously published, prize-winning, or broadcast essays will not be accepted. (Previous online appearances constitute prior publication.) Entries will be deemed ineligible if they are under contract to another publisher or broadcaster.
  5. Essays will be removed from longlists or shortlists if we discover they have been published elsewhere.
  6. Entries must contain nothing obscene, libellous, unlawful, defamatory, or anything ABR may deem to be inappropriate.
  7. Essays entered but not shortlisted in past Calibre Essay Prizes may be re-entered.
  8. Translations are not eligible.
  9. If entrants subsequently withdraw their entries, the entry fee will not be refunded.
  10. Shortlisted authors may be required to take part in events and media activities.
  11. The prize money also covers publication online and the print edition.



  1. Our expectation is that the winning essays will require little editing apart from the application of house style. ABRwill edit both essays and show the authors changes for their approval. The essayists will be involved throughout and will be shown successive proofs.
  2. The winning essay will be published in the May 2020 issue (print and online). The runner-up will be published in the June-July 2020 or August 2020 issue (print and online).
  3. Authorship of the winning essays will be fully acknowledged in the ABRprint and online issues and in all related material.
  4. Copyright in the two winning essays resides with the authors.The winner and runner-up grant the Australian Book Review an exclusive licence to publish their winning essays in the relevant ABR issue (print and online edition) for three months from the date of first publication in the issue, and thereafter a non-exclusive licence indefinitely to publish in the relevant online issue.
  5. If syndication or anthologisation of the winning essays is mooted, ABRwill consult the winning essayists for approval. The essayists will receive 50 per cent of any syndication fees and 100 per cent of any anthology fees. 


The Judging Process

  1. Judging is completely anonymous.
  2. The entrant’s name must not appear in the Word file or in the file name.
  3. The judges are J.M. Coetzee, Lisa Gorton, and Peter Rose (ABR Editor and CEO).
  4. The judges’ decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into about the judgements or the judging process.
  5. ABR reserves the right not to award a prize.



To be eligible, entrants must tick the declaration box on the online entry page.

I hereby declare that the essay entered in the Calibre Essay Prize is my own work, and has not been previously published, broadcasted, or awarded. I have read all the terms and conditions and agree to abide by them.