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Announcing the sixth annual Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize.

Literary Hub

February 17, 2022, 11:57am

Literary Hub is pleased to announce that submissions are now open for the sixth annual Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize, which awards $1000 for an outstanding book collection conceived and built by a young woman+, aged 30 or younger, who lives anywhere in the United States. This year the prize is sponsored by Biblio, Bibliopolis, The Caxton Club, Swann Auction Galleries, and Ellen A. Michelson.

The guidelines note that “The winning collection must have been started by the contestant, and all items in the collection must be owned by her. A collection may include books, manuscripts, and ephemera; it may be organized by theme, author, illustrator, printing technique, binding style, or another clearly articulated principle. A great collection is more than a reading list of texts: it’s a chosen group of printed or manuscript objects, creatively assembled, that shine light on one another . . . Collections are judged not on their size or their market value, but on their originality and their success in illuminating their chosen subjects.”

Last year’s winner, astrophysicist Margaret Landis, was recognized for her collection Maria Mitchell Through Time. Landis said that the prize deadline was useful to consolidating her thoughts as a collector: “[It] made me sit down and think about the most interesting things I’d found each year, and refine my focus.”

The prize, founded in 2017 by Heather O’Donnell of Honey & Wax Booksellers and Rebecca Romney of Type Punch Matrix, seeks to celebrate a type of book collector who has often gone unnoticed. Write the founders, “We observed that the women who regularly bought books from us were less likely to call themselves ‘collectors’ than the men, even when those women had spent years passionately collecting books . . . If you’re an aspiring collector, pay attention to the books that fascinate you, even if you’re not yet sure why. What do you see that others don’t? If you have a theory about the stories your collection might tell, and the curiosity to find out if you’re right, you’re a collector in the making.”

The deadline for submissions this year is June 15, 2022. See the full requirements and apply here, and look for the announcement of this year’s winner in September.

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