The London–based nonfiction press Notting Hill Editions recently announced the launch of its international William Hazlitt Essay Prize, which will be given annually for an essay. The winner will receive a cash award of £15,000 (approximately $22,674); five runners-up will each receive £1,000 (approximately $1,511).
Writers of any nationality are eligible, but essays must be written in English. Previously unpublished essays or those that have appeared in either print or online journals, but not in book form, between January 1, 2012, and July 31, 2013, are eligible. Antonia Fraser, Adam Mars-Jones, Harry Mount, David Shields, and Gaby Wood will judge. Using the online submission system, writers, publishers, or agents may submit an essay of two thousand to eight thousand words with a £10 (approximately $15) entry fee by September 1. E-mail or visit the website for more information and complete guidelines.
Devoted to “the best in essayistic nonfiction writing,” Notting Hill Editions publishes both new and classic essays and collections in hardbound editions, having recently featured work by Joshua Cohen, Deborah Levy, David Shields, and W. G. Sebald.
The prize is named for British essayist William Hazlitt (1778-1830), who wrote of the form: “…it makes familiar with the world of men and women, records their actions, assigns their motives, exhibits their whims, characterizes their pursuits in all their singular and endless variety, ridicules their absurdities, exposes their inconsistencies, ‘holds the mirror up to nature, and shows the very age and body of the time its form and pressure’; takes minutes of our dress, air, looks, words, thoughts, and actions; shows us what we are, and what we are not; plays the whole game of human life over before us, and by making us enlightened Spectators of its many-coloured scenes, enables us (if possible) to become tolerably reasonable agents in the one in which we have to perform a part. It is the best and most natural course of study.”