The purpose of the Archives Fine Books Book Collecting Prize is to unearth and celebrate current book collecting passions and practices among young Australian so that every young and curious collector can play their part invigorating existing traditions whilst they develop knowledge and build expertise.

Why a prize?

We at Archives Fine Books believe that in establishing a national prize we can unearth who is collecting, discover what exactly it is they collect, and help celebrate their passion and collecting endeavours.

Book collecting is fun, fascinating, and worthwhile. Over centuries, idiosyncratic and passionate collecting obsessions have led to new knowledge, new perspectives, to the filling out of social history and movements, and even to shifts in institutional collecting practices. We expect the next generation of collectors will make their own unique contributions to specialised knowledge by following their bliss, and our hope is that they enjoy themselves immensely and develop knowledge and skills as they do it.

Why young people?

The impulse to celebrate young collectors emerges from our desire to see the whole book collecting scene in Australia grow and be invigorated.

Book collecting is usually a solitary pastime. By establishing the national prize, we hope to introduce young collectors to the existing community for inspiration and information. By exposing young collectors to traditional practices of collection curation and bibliography – by inviting them to book fairs, events, and into associations such as BCSA and BSANZ – they can begin to consciously engage with existing traditions and build expertise as they continue to collect.

In focusing on young collectors, we hope to make it clear that the prize is not being awarded for amassing a collection of great material value. It is true that some books accrue value over time, but we are not in the business of making predictions about this or encouraging others to do so. Instead, we are simply looking to the future, in which we see books and printed material continuing to play an important role and to occupy an important place. We are seeking the curious young Australians who are already hunting and uncovering things they sense may have something interesting or new to tell us about ourselves and our world; and who, by their collecting foci; are preserving books and ephemeral items into the future.

The Archives Fine Book Collecting Prize for Young Collectors is open to all young Australian collectors up to the age of 35. Applications will open on August 28 and close on December 31. The prize winning collection will be announced in March 2024.

For more information about the prize and for Terms and Conditions visit: https://www.archivesfinebooks....

We would like to thank our partners in establishing the Prize:

The Bibliographic Society of Australia and New Zealand and

The Book Collectors' Society of Australia

Image: Reading (Clara) [c. 1865]. Federico Faruffini (Italian, 1833-1869). Oil on canvas. Galleria d'Arte. Moderna di Milano.