The Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize 2019-2020: Procedures and Rules

The prize is offered by Senate House Library and the Institute of English Studies to any student studying for a degree at the University of London (including the School of Advanced Study and any of the Colleges of the University) for a coherent collection of printed and/or manuscript materials. Its purpose is to encourage collectors among the University of London’s student body who are at an early stage of collecting books, printed materials, and/or manuscripts.

1. All current undergraduates and postgraduates of the University of London (including its Colleges), both part-time and full-time, are eligible to enter for the prize. The collection they enter must be owned and collected solely by them and must contain not less than 10 printed and/or manuscript items with a common theme. The items may be in any printed or manuscript formats, exclusively or in combination e.g. exclusively printed books or printed ephemera or manuscript letters, or a combination of these. It is possible to enter the prize more than once but it will not be awarded twice to the same person(s).

2. The prize

  • £600 to the winner of the competition
  • £300 for the purchase (within 6 months of the date of the award) of a book for Senate House Library’s special collections to be selected by the winner in cooperation with the Library’s Curator of Rare Books.
  • The opportunity for the winner to give a seminar on his or her collection within an Institute of English Studies seminar series
  • The opportunity for the winner to exhibit part of their collection, for a short period, within Senate House Library to inspire other collectors and encourage future applicants for this prize

3. To enter for the prize, entrants should submit:

  • application cover sheet (Word Doc file, 134 KB)
  • An essay of not more than 500 words explaining the coherence and interest of their collection, and why and how it was assembled
  • A bibliographic list of the items in the collection
  • A list of the next five items the entrant realistically hopes to add to the collection, with a brief explanation

In total these submissions should not exceed 10 sides of A4 at a minimum of 12 point. Submissions may be retained by Senate House Library which will be entitled to reproduce or make reference to them in any form it considers appropriate.

4. Entries should be submitted to the Library Office Manager, Room 524, Senate House Library, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU or by e-mail to by 5pm (London time)on Monday 21 April 2019.

5. Applicants will be judged by a panel with representatives from Senate House Library; the Institute of English Studies; the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association; the Bibliographical Society; and collectors.

6. The prize will be awarded at the judges’ discretion, having regard to the purpose of the prize and the quality of the essay and other materials submitted by the entrant. The award will be based on the coherence, interest, originality, thoughtfulness, use and creativity of the collection, as well as the promise and persistence of the collector. The age, size, and monetary value of the collection will not be relevant criteria. The prize may be split among more than one entrant, at the judges’ discretion.

7. The judges’ decision on any matter is final.

8. Short-listed entrants will be invited to meet the judges and to make a brief presentation of their collection.

Visit the The Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize page.