News | March 2, 2023

Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize 2023

Courtesy Honey & Wax Booksellers

The seventh annual Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize, awarded for an outstanding book collection built by a woman aged 30 or younger, anywhere in the United States, comes with a cash award of $1,000.

The prize was founded in 2017 by Heather O’Donnell of Honey & Wax Booksellers and Rebecca Romney of Type Punch Matrix. They observed that the women who regularly bought books from them were less likely to call themselves “collectors” than the men, even when those women had spent years passionately collecting books.

Their quick online image search for “book collector” brought up page after page of older men. By creating a platform that celebrates and shares innovative collections created by young women, and providing a financial incentive to those collectors as they work, they aim to encourage a new generation of women collectors.

Contestants do not need to be enrolled in a degree program, nor do they require a sponsor. 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. Collections are judged not on their size or their market value, but on their originality and their success in illuminating their chosen subjects.

The 2022 winner was graduate student Melanie Shi, for East of France, West of Russia: Cold War Europe and the Chinese Book. “Thinking of myself as a collector has completely changed the way I think about books and publishing history, about the irreproducibility of specific copies,” she says.

Find full requirements and application details here. The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2023. The Honey & Wax Book Collecting Prize is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Biblio, Bibliopolis, The Caxton Club, Swann Auction Galleries, and Ellen A. Michelson. This year’s winner will be announced in September.