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Tony Fothergill Book Collecting Prize

The Tony Fothergill Book Collecting Prize, which was launched in October 2017, will be offered annually. It's open to all students at the University of York, and offers the opportunity to win a cash prize, and to progress to the ABA National Book Collecting Prize. To enter, you'll write an essay about your book collection: the prize is intended to encourage book collecting amongst students, and we expect that your collection may well be embryonic at this stage.

About the prize

We are offering this prize in conjunction with Spelman Books and the Friends of the Library and Archives (FOLA). The prize is funded by Tony Fothergill, a graduate of York University (1979), keen collector, and owner of Ken Spelman Books in York.

The Tony Fothergill Book Collecting Prize gives students the chance to win £500 by building their own book collections, and writing about them. It is intended to encourage the collecting of books, printed and/or manuscript materials by students of the University by recognising a collection assembled by a student at an early stage in its formation.

In addition to the prize of £500, the winner will receive Membership of the Friends of York University Library, and the opportunity to give a seminar on their winning collection. They will also progress through to the ABA National Book Collecting Prize (see below), alongside the winners of similar competitions already established at other universities.

Who is eligible?

All undergraduates and postgraduates of the University, both part-time and full-time, are encouraged to enter. If you have ten or more items, then you are already a collector, and should apply!

How to submit your entry

The deadline for submissions to the 2019 prize is 5pm on Monday 14 January 2019.

Your entry will take the form of an essay describing how your collection illustrates a particular theme or type of material, and how the items were acquired. The essay should explain the significance that the collection has for you, and may indicate how the process of collecting has developed your own ideas of the theme. The essay should include a section describing five items that you would like to add to the collection.

Your essay (no more than 500 words long) should be emailed with a completed cover sheet to Sarah Griffin, Rare Books Librarian, no later than the deadline shown above.

You should also include a bibliographic list of the books in your collection, with brief annotations.

Your entry should be a maximum of 10 A4 sides in all, including the essay and bibliography, but not including the cover sheet.

Judging will take place in March 2019: entrants will be contacted by email shortly after that, and then the result will be announced publicly.

Judging criteria

Judges will take into consideration the interest, originality, thoughtfulness, promise and creativity of the collection and persistence of the collector. We stress that the intention is to encourage collecting and we expect that applicants' collections will be embryonic, so their size, age and value are irrelevant. What is much more important is the enthusiasm and commitment of the collector, the interest of the theme and the vision of how the collection will be developed.It is possible and even encouraged to enter the prize more than once if you are still at the university and still qualify.

ABA National Book Collecting Prize

Submissions from the winning entry are made by the end of July, and judging takes place in the second week of September, with the winner announced shortly afterwards. The prize giving takes place in London, at the Chelsea Rare Book Fair, on the first Friday in November.

The National Winner receives £500, and £500 is also awarded to the winners' Library.