The British Society of Aesthetics runs a biennial essay prize competition, open to early-career researchers in aesthetics. The winning author receives £1,500 and an opportunity to present the paper at the Society’s annual conference. The winning essay will normally be published in the British Journal of Aesthetics.  The next competition takes place in 2024 and the submission deadline will be February 2024 (date tba).     

Previous winners

2022 – Zoe Walker (University of Cambridge) for her essay, ‘A Sensibility of Humour’

2020 – Aviv Reiter (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) for her essay, ‘Kant on the aesthetic ideas of beautiful nature’

2018 – Michel-Antoine Xhignesse (University of British Columbia) for his essay, ‘What makes a kind an art-kind?’

2016 – John Holliday (Rutgers) for his essay, ‘Emotional Intimacy in Literature’

2014 – Jake Quilty-Dunn (CUNY) for his essay, ‘Believing Our Eyes’

2012 – Lee Walters (University of Oxford) for his essay, ‘Repeatable Artworks as Created Types

2010 – James Grant (University of Oxford) for his essay, ‘Metaphor and Criticism’

2008 – Andrew Kania (Trinity University, San Antonio) for his essay, ‘Fundamental Musical Ontology; Methodology and a New Proposal’

  1. Aim: The aim of the prize is to encourage and reward new talent in the field of aesthetics.
  2. Amount: The amount of the Prize is £1,500.
  3. Deadline: The deadline for submissions is 18 February 2022.
  4. Eligibility: The Prize is intended to foster the development of the field of aesthetics. The competition is open to early career researchers who have received their PhD within the last three years (at the time of submission), as well as current postgraduate students. Persons in doubt about their qualifications are encouraged to consult the BSA Manager in advance. Entrants must include with their entry a statement indicating how they qualify. Entry is not limited to members of the BSA nor to residents of the United Kingdom. Previous winners may not enter again.
  5. Content and Length: The essay may be on any topic in aesthetics or the philosophy of art. The essay should be a maximum of 7,500 words inclusive of any footnotes and bibliography. In addition an abstract not exceeding 150 words should accompany the essay.
  6. Judging: The panel of judges will comprise one or more Trustees of the British Society of Aesthetics and the Editors of the British Journal of Aesthetics, along with an Editorial Consultant to the journal.  The winning essay will normally be published in the British Journal of Aesthetics.  It is a condition of entry to the Prize competition that the essay has not previously been published; is not currently under consideration by another journal or competition, and will not be until the result of the competition is announced. If, in the opinion of the judges, no essay that merits publication in the BJA is submitted, the prize will not be awarded. The decision of the judges is final. The prize will be presented at the 2022 BSA annual conference.
  7. Presentation: The winning author will have the opportunity to present the paper at the 2022 annual conference of the Society. If the author is an enrolled student, they will be automatically eligible for a BSA postgraduate conference subsidy. The winner’s name will be announced in the British Journal of Aesthetics.
  1. Submissions should be clearly identified as entries for the BSA Essay Prize and be sent by email to the Manager of the BSA, Caroline Auty, at
  2. Entries should be in English, and should not exceed 7,500 words in length (including any footnotes and bibliography, excluding abstract).
  3. The abstract (up to 150 words) should precede the essay, within the same document.
  4. Entries must be in Word document format.
  5. Entries that are too long or without an abstract will not be considered.
  6. Essays should be prepared for blind review and should follow guidelines for submissions to the British Journal of Aesthetics.
  7. The file name should be the same as the essay title.
  8. The covering email should include the name, institution and address of the author.
  9. Candidates should supply evidence that they are eligible for the prize eg date attained PhD.
  10. Essays will not be considered for the prize if they have been previously published; if they been submitted to the BJA directly; or are currently under consideration by another journal or competition.
  11. No non-winning essay will be considered for publication in the BJA unless it is separately submitted to that journal after the competition.
  12. The winning author will have a chance to revise the paper for publication after the annual conference.