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The PG Wodehouse Society (UK) Essay Prize 2022

The PG Wodehouse Society (UK) Essay Prize 2022 Happiness, as solid thinkers have often pointed out, comes from giving pleasure to others. P G Wodehous

How To Submit To The PG Wodehouse Society (UK) Essay Prize 2022


The PG Wodehouse Society (UK) Essay Prize 2022
Happiness, as solid thinkers have often pointed out, comes from giving pleasure to others.
P G Wodehouse

P G Wodehouse is the funniest writer of the 20th Century in the English language, possibly ever. Over 75 years, he wrote almost 100 books with the express intention of making his readers laugh. Even now, some 140 years after his birth, he is one of the few humourists we can rely on to increase the number of sunshine hours in the day. If, as he once remarked, “the object of all good literature is to purge the soul of its petty troubles”, the consistently upbeat tone of his books must represent one of the largest-ever bequests to human happiness.

In addition, he was at the forefront of the development of American musical theatre in the early 20th century, especially the lyrics, in collaboration with ‘greats’ like Jerome Kern and the Gershwins. He wrote plays, poetry and journalism. No writer can have given so much pleasure to so many people in so many ways across such an extended period of his life.

Only Shakespeare has more citations in the Oxford English Dictionary. Wodehouse may have written to entertain and he once said that if the world wanted a message from him it would remain a message short, yet he holds a very significant place in the literary and wider culture of the English-speaking world.

To celebrate the work of this remarkable writer, the PG Wodehouse Society (UK) is delighted to announce the launch of a new international essay competition which is open to all.

Two prizes, respectively of £250 and £1,000, will be awarded: for those aged under 19 on the closing date (word limit 1,500); and those 19+ (minimum 4,000, maximum 5,000).

Entries should be submitted by Word attachment to essayprize@pgwodehousesociety.org.uk by 12 noon BST on Wednesday 1st September 2022, and the winners will be announced in December.

Panel of Judges

We are delighted that the following have agreed to form the panel of judges for our essay prize. We thank them all and are grateful that such a distinguished group of people has agreed to support the project.

Paula Byrne, novelist and bestselling biographer

Stephen Fry, actor, broadcaster, director and writer.

Patrick Kidd, writer and journalist, editor, Times Diary column.

Elliott Milstein, authority on Wodehouse and senior figure in the American P G Wodehouse Society.

Sophie Ratcliffe (in the chair), writer, critic, academic, and editor of P. G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters.

Cat White, writer, actor, filmmaker and gender advisor to the UN.

Criteria for judging


Essays will be judged according to the following criteria: 

the originality of the work in drawing attention to interesting aspects of PG Wodehouse’s writing;

the quality and scholarship of the essay in exploring PG Wodehouse’s writing, and the arguments and ideas the essayist presents.

We do not want to be restrictive in the areas or topics that may be covered (and understand that literary critical essays often draw on illuminating historical and contextual engagement) but we are seeking essays that primarily focus on his novels, stories, lyrics, plays and journalism, rather than essays of a purely biographical nature.

Closing Date and entry requirements


1. Entries must be submitted by email no later than 12 noon BST on Wednesday 1st September 2022.

2. Entries must be submitted to essayprize@pgwodehousesociety.org.uk with the subject heading of Essay Prize Entry followed by Name of entrant stating if you are entering Category 1 (youth group) or Category 2 (adult group).

3. Entries must be submitted as a Word attachment, with numbered pages, written in English, for entry into one of the following categories: 

Category 1 - those aged under 19 years of age (on the closing date) – with a word count of up to 1500 words. 

Category 2 – those aged 19 years and over – shall submit essays of no less than 4000 words and no longer than 5000 words.

Terms and Conditions

1. Entrants from across the world are invited to participate.

2. Entrants must include their full name, age, and name of school (if under 19), and postal address including country.

3. Entrants do not need to be Members of the PG Wodehouse Society (UK) nor of any other recognised PG Wodehouse Society.

4. No entries submitted after the closing date will be accepted.

5. Judging will take place by December 2022 and the winners notified, confidentially, by email. If your work is chosen, you must not mention this to anyone until the winners are announced by the PG Wodehouse Society (UK).

6. The decision of the judging panel is final, and no correspondence will be entered into.

7. By entering, the authors grant permission to the PG Wodehouse Society (UK) to use the entry and names of the winners and runners-up plus their locations (not full address) as it wishes to for publicity and permits the Society to reproduce the essay at the discretion of the Society.

8. Entries must be the entrants’ original works and not have been submitted or published elsewhere. The Society will be running plagiarism checks to ensure fair play.

9. The prize for the 19+ age category is £1,000.00 and will be paid in sterling to nominated bank accounts. For those in the category of entrants aged under 19 the prize is £250. The age relates to the entrants’ age on the closing date for entries.

10. The PG Wodehouse Society (UK) will bear the cost of bank charges incurred in international money transfers from the Society.

11. The judges reserve the right not to award prizes.

12. As part of the prize, winners will have their work published and runners-up may have their work published by the Society through one of its channels or publications. Entrants may wish subsequently to submit their entries for inclusion in learned journals, but the Society reserves the right to publish them first.

13. In addition to the winners, essays considered by the judges to have worth may be formally commended, but no cash prize will accrue – merely the glory of recognition

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Pawners Paper: The PG Wodehouse Society (UK) Essay Prize 2022
The PG Wodehouse Society (UK) Essay Prize 2022
The PG Wodehouse Society (UK) Essay Prize 2022 Happiness, as solid thinkers have often pointed out, comes from giving pleasure to others. P G Wodehous
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