ireneadlerprizelogo1The Irene Adler Prize: A $1,000 Scholarship for Women Writers

ATTENTION: The 2020 Irene Adler Prize competition has been suspended due to the coronavirus situation. The full $1,000 prize will be donated to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) for its pandemic response.

Entrants have been notified personally and will have the option of re-submitting their essays for the next competition. The Irene Adler Prize will return in 2021.

Writing has given me a rich and exciting life.

I’ve traveled the world from Sweden to South Africa, from the Golden Globes to the Olympic women’s hockey finals. I’ve photographed a mother polar bear and her cubs and profiled stars like ABBA, Jennifer Garner and Katarina Witt. And I couldn’t have done it without women.

I’ve been very fortunate, and it’s time for me to give back. With the Irene Adler Prize, I’m awarding a $1,000 scholarship to a woman pursuing a degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in the U.S. or Canada, based on an essay competition.

My mother is a journalist and my sister works in publishing. The editors who gave me my big breaks with the New York Times, the Washington Post, and National Geographic are all female. Nearly every story of mine that’s won an award was assigned by a woman. Teachers, librarians, publicists, literary agents, fellow writers…I could go on. Women have had a huge impact on my career.

In today’s challenging climate, I want to let my female colleagues know – past, present and future – that they and their work are respected and valued. This is not to minimize men. It’s to help maximize the talents of the other 50 percent of the world’s population, which is too frequently shortchanged. The time is right.

See below for:

The 2019 winning essay and honorable mentions
The 2018 winning essay and honorable mentions
The 2017 winning essay and honorable mentions
The origin of the prize’s name

For other inquiries, email