A sidney prize is an award that recognises people who have made a difference to humanity. This can be based on their work or on the way that they have inspired others. There are a variety of different prizes available, ranging from business awards to scientific awards. These can be decided on a national basis and judges will look at past achievements as well as the potential to continue making a difference into the future.
One such prize is the SS Sydney Hook Memorial Award, which honours scholars who demonstrate national distinction in scholarship and undergraduate teaching. It is named in honor of New York Times columnist Sidney Hook, a Phi Beta Kappa member who was committed to the ideals of liberal education. Past recipients have included Ta-Nehisi Coates, who won the prize in 2011 for his essay on how America began as black plunder and white democracy, leading to inequality and racism. The Overland Neilma Sydney Short Story Prize is another popular sidney prize, and this year Yeena Kirkbright won for her story titled Camperdown Grief Junk. The judges, Laura Elvery, Paige Clark and Michael Winkler, praised her writing for its “clarity and rigour in reporting” and her “skill in conveying the emotional impact of the story”.
There is also the Sydney Peace Prize, which honours leaders who promote peace, human rights, and non-violence. This year’s winner was Iranian-born activist Nazanin Boniadi, who was recently released from 804 days of imprisonment in her native Iran. The foundation will honour her at a lecture in Sydney on 2 November.
Other sidney prizes include the SS Sydney Prize for long-form essays on politics and culture, which is given by the New York Times columnist David Brooks. Previous winners have included Amanda Hess for her article on online sexism and the “tepid intellectualism” that pervades universities; and Ta-Nehisi Coates, for his essay on how American history is shaped by race. The AJL Kate Carte Prize for History is another popular sidney prize, which was first awarded in 1967. The winner receives a cash prize and the opportunity to be published in the American Journal of Law and Liberty.
There are also several other sidney prizes for journalism and writing. The Overland Neilma Sydney short story competition, for example, is run by the Australian literary magazine Overland. The judges, who are Laura Elvery, Paige Clark and Michael Wikler, have chosen the winner of the 2022 prize, which will be announced in August. The winning entry, Camperdown Grief Junk, by Yeena Kirkbright, will be published in the next issue of Overland and will receive a cash prize of $1,000 plus publication of the story as a PDF. Runners-up stories will also be published. The winner will also be presented with a certificate designed by Edward Sorel. The other prizes are the Sidney Hillman prize for investigative journalism and the Sydney Prize for photojournalism. These are both given annually by the NSW Press Council.