News | February 16, 2021

Submissions Open for UCL’s Student Book Collecting Prize

Photo ©UCL

London — University College London (UCL) has opened submissions for the Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize, to encourage budding book collectors.

The prize is offered by UCL Library Services and is open to any student studying for a degree at a London-based university.

Previously the prize was administered by Senate House Library and proved hugely successful. Eight previous winners found the prize money useful and the addition to their CVs helped win places for further study and academic posts at high profile institutions including Harvard.

Similar prizes are run by many US universities including Yale, Harvard and Princeton and at Oxford and Cambridge, among other places.  

The prize is open to students with a themed collection of printed and/or manuscript materials. Its purpose is to encourage collectors among London’s student body who are at an early stage of collecting books, printed materials, and/or manuscripts.

The winner will get:

  • £600 plus an allowance of £300 to purchase a book for UCL Special Collections in collaboration with the Head of Rare Books;
  • an opportunity for the winner to give a talk about the collection as part of the UCL Special Collections events programme;
  • an opportunity for the winner to display or exhibit part of their collection within UCL to inspire other collectors and encourage future applicants for this prize;
  • Winners are entered into the ABA National Book Collecting Prize.

All undergraduates and postgraduates, both part-time and full-time, are encouraged to enter.

Entries should be submitted by email to by 5pm (London time) on Friday 30 April 2021. Visit the UCL Special Collections website for full details and an application form.

Sponsor of the prize, Anthony Davis, a lawyer and London graduate, said: “The history of the book is a history of human knowledge and it is vitally important to continue to encourage people to enjoy books or whole areas of human experience will vanish. We have had some wonderful entries and exceptional winners in London over the years and there have been several who have written subsequently to thank us for the opportunity to talk about their books and for the positive effect winning the prize has had on their careers. It is an extremely moving experience meeting these young people and seeing their collections and enthusiasm grow.”

Building your collection:

  • Your collection must consist of not less than eight printed and/or manuscript items reflecting a common theme, which the collector has deliberately assembled as the start of a collection and intends to grow.
  • The mission of the Anthony Davis prize is to encourage the collecting of books, printed and manuscript materials by students at an early stage in their career so it is focused on the vision, research and theme of the collection and not the collection’s size, age or value.
  • Past winners include: Musa Igrek from Goldsmiths’ College for his collection ‘Divine Power’ and Lucy Vinten Mattich, an MA student in UCL studying archives, for her collection of household manuals from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Find out more here.