Russell Prize for Humour Writing

Russell Prize for Humour Writing

Last month the State Library of NSW announced the launch of the inaugural Russell Prize for Humour Writing, the only award of its kind in Australia. What a great prize for Aussie writers! Have a crack at it people!

Aussie Humour

Light or dark, fun or farce – published works of fiction, memoir, poetry and verse by Australian writers will be considered for the biennial $10,000 prize, with entries now open. The Prize has been made possible by the generous bequest of the late Peter Wentworth Russell, a farmer, businessman and passionate reader. Administered and presented by the State Library of NSW on behalf of the estate, the prize aims to celebrate, recognise and encourage humour writing, and to promote interest in this genre.

As a proud and long‐time supporter of Australian literature, the State Library of NSW and its Foundation are thrilled to announce this unique new prize as part of its large stable of awards and prizes it administers, including the NSW Literary and History Awards and the National Biography Award. “The Russell Prize for Humour Writing will celebrate the written works that have amused us over the last two years, and encouraged us to ponder what is so unique about the Australian sense of humour,” said Alex Byrne, NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive.

Author and journalist Peter FitzSimons is so enthusiastic about this new addition to Australia’s literary awards landscape that he has agreed to be the Patron for the prize. “Australians are self‐depracatory by nature, and as part of the larrikin streak to laugh at ourselves, it is fortunate we’ve always had plenty of material to work with. I am thrilled that the nation’s best humour writing will be officially recognised with this new prize,” said Mr FitzSimons.

Works nominated for the 2015 prize must have been first published in the previous two years, between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2014 and commercially available during this period. Works of fiction and non‐fiction, including collections of short stories, poetry and verse are eligible for consideration.

Entires for the 2015 Russell Prize for Humour Writing close on Friday 6th February 2015.


Guidelines – Summary only – please see FULL competition guidelines, nomination checklist and entry form  at the State Library of NSW website.

  • Works nominated for the 2015 Prize must have been first published in the previous two years, between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2014, and commercially available within this period.
  • Works of fiction and non-fiction, including poetry, verse  and collections of short stories, are eligible for consideration.
  • The major emphasis of each entry must be on humour, but the judges will also consider the quality of the writing and the work’s contribution to the genre. A work may contain some material previously published only in anthologies, literary journals or newspapers. In such a case the judges will determine whether the new work is sufficient, in quantity and quality, to qualify as eligible and merit an award.
  •  All works, except for poetry, must consist of a minimum length of 40,000 words.
  • Self-published books may be nominated, but unpublished manuscripts will not be considered.
  • Authors whose works are nominated must be Australian citizens or persons holding permanent resident status. Works published overseas are eligible if the author is an Australian citizen or holds permanent residency. A work written by two authors in collaboration will be considered for the Prize.
  • Works may be entered by a publisher, agent or by the author.

There is an entry fee of $66 (inc. GST) for each title for administration charges incurred by the State Library of NSW.


Details provided by State Library of NSW official Media Release 17th December 2014. For all details about the Russell Prize for Humour Writing please see the State Library of NSW.

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