The Neilma Sidney Prize and the Iwanter Prize

As the world becomes shorter, the Sydney Prize stands athwart technology, yelling “STOP!” The prize honors long-form journalism and thought. Examples of previous winners include the New York Times’s investigation into Haiti’s debt, Rose Arce’s series on being held hostage by Taliban, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ agenda-setting videos explicating corporate greed.

Winners are selected monthly and will receive a prize money of up to $10,000 USD, a trophy, and a certificate designed by New Yorker cartoonist Edward Sorel. The winners will also be invited to the Sydney Prize gala, hosted by the City of Sydney in Australia later this year. The finalists will be formally awarded the prize by City of Sydney Mayor Clover Moore.

In addition to the prize money, finalists will receive free tickets to attend the gala, where they will meet and talk with some of the most influential people in the world. They will have the opportunity to share their stories, as well as hear from others that have been affected by the issues they are fighting for.

The Sydney Prize was founded in 2004 by New York Times columnist David Brooks and journalist William Zinser to honour writers and journalists who have written about issues that impact public life. It has been bestowed on many notable personalities, including Nazanin Boniadi, the Iranian dissident who fought for her life while being imprisoned in an Iranian jail. The prize also recognises scientists who have used their work to help people understand science. This can be by educating the public on important scientific topics, sparking interest in science fields like biology or medicine, or developing new technologies that benefit humanity.

Each year, the Iwanter Prize honors a graduating senior who, through their senior thesis and general academic distinction, demonstrates outstanding humanities-based scholarship of a broad and interdisciplinary nature. The award is named for alumnus Sidney E. Iwanter, who demonstrated his own curiosity and will to document the knowledge of a previous generation by secretly recording the lectures of Professor of History Harvey Goldberg at UW-Madison.

The Neilma Sidney Prize is an annual essay competition sponsored by Overland magazine and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation. It is open to students of the University of Sydney. The judges are looking for essays that move beyond the mere description of a place or landscape, but rather explore its significance and meaning. The essay must also address questions of metaphysics and epistemology, and be grounded in the study of Australian culture. The prize is valued at $5,000, and two runners-up will be given $2,500 each. The winning entry will be published in Overland, both online and in print. To enter, you must be a subscriber of Overland for one year and submit an essay by the last day of the month. Non-subscribers are welcome to submit entries.

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