I've been very fortunate, and it's time for me to give back. With the Irene Adler Prize, I'm awarding a $1,000 scholarship to a woman pursuing a degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in the U.S. or Canada, based on an essay competition.
My mother is a journalist and my sister works in publishing. The editors who gave me my big breaks with the New York Times, the Washington Post, and National Geographic are all female. Nearly every story of mine that's won an award was assigned by a woman. Teachers, librarians, publicists, literary agents, fellow writers…I could go on. Women have had a huge impact on my career.
In today's challenging climate, I want to let my female colleagues know – past, present and future – that they and their work are respected and valued. This is not to minimize men. It's to help maximize the talents of the other 50 percent of the world's population, which is too frequently shortchanged. The time is right.
The Irene Adler Prize: Competition Guidelines
1) Entry is free of charge.
2) There is no age restriction.
3) The Irene Adler Prize winner will receive a $1,000 US scholarship.
4) The competition is open to women commencing or continuing to pursue a bachelor's, master's, or Ph.D degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in the United States or Canada in 2021-22.
5) Applicants must be U.S. citizens or Canadian citizens.
6) The application period begins on January 30, 2021. The deadline is April 30, 2021. No late applications will be accepted.
7) Each application consists of two (2) elements:
A) A 500-word essay in English on one of the following three topics:
Which one person, place, or event best encapsulates, for you, the struggles we are all facing right now?
What is the most important thing you learned about yourself in 2020?
What are you doing with your writing to bring joy back into your life – or the world – in 2021?
Each essay must have its own original title. The applicant's name, mailing address, phone number, and email address must appear on the first page. All personal information will be kept strictly confidential.
B) A completed entry form (see below)
8) The essay and entry form are to be emailed as separate attachments to:
The essay and entry form must be in Microsoft Word format.
In the email subject line, include the title of the essay and "(Irene Adler Prize application)." Example: "Coming of Age Amid the Rhododendrons (Irene Adler Prize application)."
9) There is a limit of one (1) entry per person. Multiple entries by the same person will be disqualified.
10) Entries will be judged on content, originality, structure, and overall writing quality by Lucas Aykroyd, the prize administrator. The administrator's decisions are final.
11) Plagiarized entries will be disqualified.
12) The winner will be announced on August 1, 2021. Honorable mentions will be awarded at the judge's discretion.
13) The prize administrator reserves the right to publish the winning essay and the author's name on lucasaykroyd.com and to publicize it through various media channels.
14) Proof of enrollment at a recognized post-secondary institution for 2021-22 must be supplied before the prize is paid out. This can consist of a) a proof of enrollment letter or certificate from the institution's registrar's office b) an official tuition bill c) a schedule of classes.
15) The $1,000 US prize payment will be applied to educational expenses. It will be made directly to the winner's post-secondary institution. In the event that the post-secondary institution will not accept it, payment will be made directly to the winner.
16) Payment of any applicable taxes is the responsibility of the winner.
17) The Irene Adler Prize is a one-time award. Past winners are not eligible to compete again.