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Call for entries - Hubert Butler Essay Prize

To mark the 120th anniversary of Hubert Butler’s birth this prestigious international literary award will be presented this October in Kilkenny by President Michael D. Higgins


Submissions are now open!


On 15 May it was announced that the 2020 prize-giving of the renowned international Hubert Butler Essay Prize, which encourages the art of essay writing across Europe, is to be held in Kilkenny. Planned for October 23rd, the award is scheduled to be presented by President Michael D. Higgins at a ceremony hosted by Kilkenny Arts Festival. The prize-giving event is of course subject to any Government guidance at that time regarding Covid-19.


The annual prize is organised by HEART London, an arts charity which promotes the best of European liberal values — values that Hubert Butler embodied. This year HEART is partnering with Kilkenny Arts Festival, who is supporting the prize and hosting the prize-giving, to mark the 120th anniversary of Butler's birth by bringing the ceremony back to Kilkenny where he was born. The annual Hubert Butler lecture has been a much-loved element of Kilkenny Arts Festival for many years and is delivered by a different speaker each year.


Submissions are now open and the title for this year’s essay is “Communal solidarity and individual freedom: antagonists or allies?”. The application form can be found at hubertbutleressayprize.com and the closing date for submissions is September 4th 2020. Judged by Catriona Crowe, Roy Foster (Chair), Nicholas Grene, Eva Hoffman and Barbara Schwepcke, the first prize will be £1,000 with two second prizes of £500 each; in addition the winners will be published in the series Haus Curiosities.


This literary prize is designed to reflect Hubert Butler's interest in the common ground between the European nation states that emerged after the First World War; his concern with the position of religious and ethnic minorities; his life and writings as an encapsulation of the mantra 'Think globally, act locally'; the importance of the individual conscience; and his work with refugees.


Find out more about the prize on the HEART London website.


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