Arts Journalism Prizes

2019 entries have closed. Finalists will be announced May 29.


Arts Journalism Prizes

2019 Entries have closed. Finalists will be announced May 29.


Arts Journalism Prizes

There are two categories for the Walkley Arts Journalism Prizes in 2019 – the Arts Journalism and the Walkley-Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism. 

All Media: Arts Journalism

The Arts Journalism Prize 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.

Entries in this category must be a single piece of work or a series of no more than three related reports. Open to individuals or group entries up to three people.

Supported by:

All Media: Walkley-Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism

The Walkley-Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism , previously the Pascall Prize, 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 or up to three pieces of work showcasing a body of work. Open only to individual entrants.

History of the Pascall-Prize

The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism has been Australia’s only major award for critical writing about the arts since 1988, when the inaugural prize was presented to David Malouf. It celebrates the unique contribution of critics to our cultural landscape, and the specialist, detailed knowledge they draw upon to contextualise works of art. The award commemorates the flamboyant journalist and critic Geraldine Pascall, who worked for The Australian from 1970 until her sudden death in 1983.

The prize continues to reward engaging and illuminating voices, both new and established, whose work demonstrates critical thinking, eschews preconceptions, and which shows a balanced and considered treatment of the subject at hand.

2019 entries have closed. Finalists will be announced May 29.

The prize

Through the support of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund we are thrilled to announce that in 2019, both the winner of the Arts Journalism Prize and the winner of the Walkley Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism will receive $5000 in prize money.

Entry fee

The cost of entering for each category is $50 per submission, including GST. Entry is free for all MEAA members.   

Judging criteria

The judging criteria for both prize categories is as follows:

  • Originality and insight
  • Research and news-gathering skills
  • Storytelling ability
  • Accuracy and ethics
  • Excellent use of the medium/media
  • Knowledge of their given area
  • Ability to convey a specialisation to a general audience and explore in depth for a specialist audience
  • Contextualisation of culture – both in terms of when/where works were created and when/where they’re being consumed (i.e. how does a work fit into a culture?)

Conditions of entry

Any person engaged in the practice of writing or broadcasting about the arts is eligible to enter the Arts Journalism Prizes. Entrants self-nominate and work must have been published or aired between April 27, 2018 through to April 26, 2019.

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.

All entrants must certify that the entry is their original work. Apart from standard sub-editorial/production treatment, submissions must adhere to the MEAA Code of Ethics in their preparation; undertake to abide by this Code of Ethics; and have complied with all copyright requirements.

Terms & Conditions

If you have any further questions, please contact either:

Lauren Dixon or (02) 9158 3820

Gemma Courtney or (02) 9158 3822

Barbara Blackman or (02) 9158 3821

Past winners

Walkley-Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism

Delia FalconerThe Sydney Review of Books, “The opposite of glamour”

2018 Judges: Eve Sullivan (Artlink), Penny Modra (visual arts writer and editorial director ) and Peter Rose (Australian Book Review).


Arts Journalism Prize

Gabriella CoslovichMelbourne University Press“Whiteley on Trial”

2018 Judges: Jo Chichester (ABC Arts)Sophie Kalagas (Frankie Magazine) and Raymond Gill (Daily Review)


2017 Journalism Award

John Shand, and The Sydney Morning Herald, for Meaning It: Truth, Trump Universality and Cultural Amnesia


Winner of the 2018 Arts Journalism Prize: Gabriella Coslovich, Melbourne University Press, “Whiteley on Trial”


Winner of the 2018 Walkley-Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism: Delia Falconer, The Sydney Review of Books, “The opposite of glamour”


Past Pascall winners

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), the late Alan Saunders (gastronomy) and Kate Hennessy. David Malouf won the inaugural Pascall Prize in 1988.