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2023 Neureuther Student Essay Competition Now Open

The Carl Neureuther Student Book Collection Essay Contest, sponsored by the Washington University Libraries, will award cash prizes to students who write the best short essays about their personal book collections. The competition is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Now in its 35th year, the competition was named for Carl Neureuther, a 1940 graduate of the School of Business who set up an endowed book fund for the University Libraries. The contest was designed to inspire reading for pleasure and the cultivation of personal libraries among students. Book collections can reflect any genre, language, or time period. Past winners have written about their collections of literary criticism, out-of-print translations, science fiction, cookbooks, and queer comics.

Who Can Enter

The competition is open to any full-time Washington University student and offers four cash awards: $1,000 and $500 at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The entry deadline for the contest is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 10, 2023.

How to Enter

Students will be able to submit their essays electronically, via an online portal. Eligible students should upload the following materials by March 10:

  • a completed 2022 entry form;
  • a two- to four-page essay about the book collection; and
  • a bibliography listing the books in the collection.

Judges, who are volunteers chosen from the faculty and university community, will take a number of factors into account when assessing the essays, including the scope of each collection, its thematic unity, and its personal value to the collector.

See the Neureuther Competition page for entry forms, examples of winning essays, and information on how to enter. Winners will be announced in April 2023.

For more information on Carl Neureuther and book-collecting resources, please see the Student Book Collecting Research Guide. Contact Publications Editor Srila Nayak with any questions.