The Russell Prize for Humour Writing, was established at the bequest of Peter Wentworth Russell to celebrate, recognise and encourage humorous writing, and to promote public interest in this genre. It is the only award to recognise the art of humour writing in Australia.
The prize is administered by the State Library of NSW and Foundation and has been made possible through the generous bequest of the late Peter Wentworth Russell, a farmer and businessman remembered for his appreciation of humour. Find out more about Peter Russell and how the Russell Prize was established.
The Russell Prize is the only award for humour writing in Australia and one of few in the world. It takes its place alongside the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize in the UK, the Thurber Prize for American Humour and the Leacock Memorial Medal for Canadian Humour. The prize marks a long overdue acknowledgment of the genre in Australia, and is set to promote public interest in humour writing just as its prestigious international counterparts have done.
The Russell Prize for Humour Writing will be awarded biennially for the work which is judged to be the best book of humour writing by an Australian author and published in the previous two years. Light or dark, fun or farce, published works of fiction, memoir, poetry and verse by Australian writers will be considered for the biennial $10,000 prize.
In 2021, the inaugural Children’s Award ($5,000) is offered for a work promoting humour and championing laughter. The award is aimed at primary school level readers (5-12 years).