Pascall Prize to join Walkley Foundation mid-year awards; new arts journalism award created

The Walkley Foundation has added the Pascall Prize for arts criticism and a new award for arts journalism to its suite of mid-year awards. Entries for both are open now.

Quick links

Enter the award
Learn more about our other mid-year awards for freelancers, women, young journalists and industrial relations reporters. Entries for these awards have closed for 2017; winners will be announced July 26, 2017.

The Pascall has been Australia’s only major award for critical writing about the arts since its inaugural award to David Malouf in 1988. The continuing aim of the award will be to reward engaging and exciting voices, both new and established, whose work reveals critical thinking without preconceptions, that is sceptical of received wisdom and shows loyalty only to balanced, rational argument about the subject at hand.

The Pascall commemorates the flamboyant journalist and critic Geraldine Pascall, who worked for The Australian from 1970 until her sudden death from a stroke in 1983.

“Arts journalism and arts criticism are vital in helping us to understand, appreciate and nurture the great and small cultural influences that shape our distinct Australian identity,” said Quentin Dempster, Walkley Trustee chair and Pascall board member. “At a time when both the arts and journalism are under great pressure, it’s up to the Walkley Foundation to benchmark and celebrate excellence in this area.”

“Joining the Walkleys was a logical step, given that Geraldine Pascall herself was a journalist,” Pascall organiser Adrian Read said. “It’s also a perfect fit because we were keen to expand the award to arts journalism as well as to critical writing about Australian society and culture.”

The Pascall Prize was run from its inception by Music & Opera Singers Trust (MOST). As MOST has expanded its classical and opera music operations by taking over the renowned and colossal ABC Young Performers Awards, it has handed over the Pascall to the Walkley Foundation, a more relevant home for it.  

Winners for these two awards will be rewarded in the Walkleys’ Mid-Year Awards on July 26, 2017:

Walkley Award for Arts Journalism

This new award recognises a significant contribution in reporting, writing, news breaking and analysis of arts issues. This may include profiles of artists, features and investigations, reporting on the structures and personalities involved in the creation of contemporary culture, and examination of the creative arena. Judges will consider research; news-gathering skill; storytelling ability; and engaging, illuminating voices. Entries in this category must be a single piece of work in any medium. Open to individuals or group entries up to three people.

Walkley-Pascall Award for Arts Criticism

This award celebrates the unique contribution of critics to our cultural landscape, and the specialist, detailed knowledge they draw on to contextualise works of art. Criticism includes both reviews responding to the work itself, and deeper criticism placing work in the context of the artist’s oeuvre, specific genres and/or the current social/political/cultural landscape. Judges will consider critical thinking; balanced, rigorous argument and evaluation; depth of knowledge and ability to contextualise; and engaging, illuminating voices. Entries in this category must be a single piece of work in any medium. Open only to individual entrants.

The Pascall’s 26 past winners include Roger Covell, Andrew Ford, Bruce Elder and Robert Forster (music), Sandra Hall, Julie Rigg, Andrew Martin, Noel Purdon, Paul Byrnes and Evan Williams (film), Robert Nelson and Joanna Mendelssohn (art), Alison Croggon and John McCallum (theatre), Elizabeth Farrelly (built environment), Mark Mordue, James Bradley, Gerard Windsor, Geordie Williamson, Kerryn Goldsworthy, James Ley, Marion Halligan, Andrew Riemer and Peter Craven (books and literature) and the late Alan Saunders (gastronomy).


Any person currently and regularly engaged in the practice of critical writing or broadcasting about any branch of the arts is eligible to apply for the Pascall Award. Work entered may relate to any aspect of the creative or performing arts.  The word ‘arts’ is to be interpreted broadly so as to include, for example, journalism and criticism covering radio and television, photography, architecture, film, food and wine as well as literature, visual arts and performing arts. Entrants self-nominate and work must have been published or aired between Jan. 1, 2016, and June 15, 2017.


For more information, including terms and conditions and judging criteria, visit Contact Lauren Dixon with questions about entering or supporting the award: or (02) 9333 0913.