Pascall Prize

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The Pascall Prize: Australian 'Critic of the Year'[1] is an annual Australian award for critical writing and review, awarded to a critic whose work over the previous 12 to 18 months has contributed significantly to public appreciation, enjoyment and understanding of the area or areas of the arts in which he or she is involved.[1] It was established in 1988 in memory of Geraldine Pascall, an Australian journalist who died of a stroke at the age of 38.

From 1988 to 2014 the recipient of the Pascall Prize was selected by a Judging Panel of industry peers appointed by Directors of the Geraldine Pascall Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established specifically to award the prize. The Pascall Prize and the Geraldine Pascall Foundation were managed by the Music & Opera Singers Trust Limited.

In 2015, the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to film critic, journalist and speechwriter Evan Willams AM on the 23 May 2015 at an event held at the Sydney Writers' Festival.

In May 2017 it was announced that the Walkley Foundation planned to takeover administration of the Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism and rename it the Walkley-Pascall Award for Arts Criticism.[2] The first Walkely-Pascall Award was made to Kate Hennessy of The Guardian.[3]


The Pascall Prize was conceived as a biennial literary award for creative writers who had made original and distinctive contributions to Australia's cultural life. In 1990, to better reflect the work and personal interests of the late Geraldine Pascall, it was decided that the Prize should be awarded annually to a critic or reviewer who contributed regularly in Australia to a newspaper, periodical, or on radio or television. This has now been extended to include the internet.[1]

It was also agreed that the Pascall Prize would be awarded to a critic working in the areas of literature, art (including design and architecture), food and or wine, music, musical theatre, dance and or drama, film, television or radio. Only sport was specifically excluded.

Awards and prizes[edit]

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a critic whose body of work exemplifies the values of the Geraldine Pascall Foundation and the Pascall Prize.The inaugural award was presented in 2015.

The Pascall Prize is the only major national prize awarded for critical writing/reviewing in Australia.[4]

The Pascall Prize is awarded to an Australian critic whose work over the previous 12 to 18 months has contributed significantly to public debate, appreciation, enjoyment and understanding of an area of the arts. The recipient of the Pascall Prize is named Australian 'Critic of the Year' and awarded $15,000.[1]

The Pascall Prize seeks to identify and reward an Australian critic whose work:

  • stimulates interest in the subject;
  • expands knowledge about the subject;
  • arouses debate;
  • creates a vital, engaging voice in the culture through the expression of strong, considered opinion(s); has intrinsic creative merit.

Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award[edit]

Year Recipient Presented By
2015 Evan Williams AM Simon Thomsen, Roland Gridiger

Recipients of the Pascall Prize: Australian 'Critic of the Year'[edit]

Year Recipient Judging Panel
1988 David Malouf Edmund Campion (Chairman), Susie McKernan, Elizabeth Riddell
1989 not awarded
1990 Marion Halligan Andrew Riemer (Convenor), Rosemary Sorensen, Ian Templeman
1991 Joanna Mendelssohn Andrew Andersons, Leon Paroissen, Daniel Thomas
1992 Alan Saunders Gay Bilson, Marion Halligan, Barbara Santich
1993 Roger Covell and Cyrus Meher-Homji Warren Fahey, Diana Simmonds, Ken Tribe AC, Evan Williams, Kim Williams
1994 Sandra Hall Margaret Fink, Richard Glover, Sandra Levy, John O'Hara, Kim Williams (Convenor)
1995 John McCallum Katherine Brisbane AM, Martin Portus, Jane Westbrook, Adrian Read (Convenor)
1996 Bruce Elder Roger Covell, Sandra Hall, John McCallum, Joanna Mendelssohn, Marion Halligan, Alan Saunders, Margaret Throsby AM (Convenor)
1997 Adrian Martin Roger Covell, Bruce Elder, Sandra Hall, Marion Halligan, John McCallum, Cyrus Meher-Homji, Joanna Mendelssohn, Alan Saunders, Gay Bilson (Convenor)
1998 Andrew Ford Bruce Elder, Sandra Hall, John McCallum, Joanna Mendelssohn, David Throsby, Adrian Read (Convenor)
1999 Andrew Riemer Bruce Elder, Andrew Ford, Marion Halligan, Jill Kitson, Adrian Martin, Adrian Read (Convenor)
2000 Robert Nelson Gay Bilson, Marion Halligan, Adrian Martin, Andrew Riemer, Alan Saunders
2001 Elizabeth Farrelly Gay Bilson, Bruce Elder, Andrew Ford, Sandra Hall, Robert Nelson, Adrian Read (Convenor)
2002 Noel Purdon Gay Bilson, Sandra Forbes, Sandra Hall, John McCallum, Adrian Martin, Andrew Riemer
2003 Julie Rigg Bruce Elder, Andrew Ford, Sandra Hall, David Throsby
2004 Peter Craven Mary Jo Capps, Andrew Ford, Noel Purdon, Andrew Riemer, Julie Rigg
2005 Gerard Windsor Elizabeth Farrelly, Marion Halligan, Adrian Martin, Robert Nelson, Susan Wyndham
2006 Robert Forster Peter Craven, Malcolm Gillies, Kate Gould, Deborah Jones, Antonia Syme, Lyndon Terracini
2007 Paul Byrnes Bruce Elder (Convenor), Ray Hughes, John McCallum, Julie Rigg, Julianne Schulz
2008 not awarded
2009 Alison Croggon[5] Kate Eltham, Robert Forster, Leo Schofield, Rosemary Sorensen, Adrian Read (Convenor)
2010 Mark Mordue Kathy Cleland, Alison Croggon, Damon Young, Adrian Read (Convenor)
2011 Geordie Williamson[6] Mark McCallum, Mark Mordue, Adrian Read (Convenor), Damon Young
2012 James Bradley Alison Croggon, Geordie Williamson, Adrian Read (Convenor)
2013 Dr Kerryn Goldsworthy James Bradley, Rosemary Sorensen, Adrian Read (Convenor)
2014 James Ley Jane Caro, Dr Kerryn Goldsworthy, Geordie Williamson, Adrian Read (Convenor)
2015 not awarded


  1. ^ a b c d Pascall Prize and Geraldine Pascall Foundation Archived 25 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Walkley Awards to Finally Recognise Arts Journalism". Daily Review. 23 May 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Walkley Arts Awards". Walkley Foundation. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  4. ^ Pascall Prize and Geraldine Pascall Foundation Archived 25 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Hawker, Philippa (23 May 2009) "Blogger first to take prize". The Age
  6. ^ Romei, Stephen (21 May 2011) "Geordie Williamson". "[(The Australian)]"

External links[edit]