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2024 Neureuther Student Essay Competition Now Open

Calling all bibliophiles! 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 36th 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 8, 2024.

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 8:

  • A completed 2024 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 2024.

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.

Feature photo by Chad Keffer/Courtesy of the Department of Education.