Sir Israel Gollancz Prize

The Sir Israel Gollancz Prize, worth £400, is awarded annually for work connected with Anglo-Saxon, early English language and literature, English philology, or the history of English language.

History of the prize

The prize was established through a bequest from Mrs Frida Mond in 1924. It was her intention to associate both the prize and a lecture with Sir Israel Gollancz, the first Secretary of the British Academy, "in token of a highly valued old friendship and his effort to further these studies". During Sir Israel’s lifetime, at his own request, the award was known as the Biennial Prize for English Literature, but after his death in 1930 it became the Sir Israel Gollancz Prize. The prize was first awarded in 1925.


Eligible nominations can be for any published work of sufficient value on subjects connected with Anglo-Saxon, early English language and literature, English philology, or the history of English language; or for original investigations connected with the history of English literature or the works of English writers, with preference for the earlier period.

How to nominate

Nominations for the Sir Israel Gollancz Prize are currently open and may only be made by Fellows of the British Academy.

Entries should be submitted electronically to and should state in the email subject line "Nomination Sir Israel Gollancz Prize 2022".

In the body of the email, clearly state:

  • Name of nominee
  • Nominee’s position/institution and email address
  • Nominee’s principal area of academic distinction
  • Supporting statement (250 words)
  • Nominator’s name and your British Academy section
  • Declaration of any institutional or personal interest

The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2022. Submissions received after this date will not be considered.

Nominations will be reviewed, and the winner/s selected, by the Sir Israel Gollancz Prize panel:

Professor Vincent Gillespie FBA

Professor Andy Orchard FBA

Professor Ad Putter FBA

If you have any queries submitting a nomination please email

2021 winners

Members of the Gersum Project

The Gersum Project is awarded the 2021 Sir Israel Gollancz prize. Collective recipients of this prize are Professor Richard Dance, Dr Sara M. Pons-Sanz and Dr Brittany Schorn.

Richard Dance (Principal Investigator) is Professor of Early English in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic in the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of St Catharine’s College. He studied at University College, Oxford, completing his DPhil in 1997, and held a Research Fellowship at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge before taking up his current position in 2001. He has published on a number of subjects in Old and Middle English language and literature, with a particular focus on etymology, semantics and language contact. His recent work includes the two volumes of Words Derived from Old Norse in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: An Etymological Survey (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019). He gave the British Academy’s Sir Israel Gollancz Memorial Lecture in 2013 ("Getting A Word In: Contact, Etymology and English Vocabulary in the 12th Century").

Sara M. Pons-Sanz (Co-Investigator) completed her PhD in Cambridge in 2004, and worked as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (2004–2008) and lecturer (2008–2010) at the University of Nottingham. She then taught at the University of Westminster, before taking up her current post at Cardiff University (2016–), where she is Reader in Language and Communication. She specialises in the impact that multilingualism, particularly Anglo-Scandinavian contacts, had on the lexicon of medieval English. This is the topic of three of her monographs (most recently The Lexical Effects of Anglo-Scandinavian Linguistic Contact on Old English, 2013) and two of her forthcoming collections of edited papers. These collections are directly linked to her most recent AHRC-funded work, which as well as Gersum includes the "Medieval English (ca600-1500) in a Multilingual Context" network (2018–2020), which she co-led with Louise Sylvester.

Dr Brittany Schorn (Research Associate) completed her PhD on Old Norse wisdom poetry at the University of Cambridge in 2012 (the basis of her 2017 monograph, published by De Gruyter, Speaker and Authority in Old Norse Wisdom Poetry). She subsequently held post-doctoral positions at the University of Oxford, studying Old Norse eddic poetry (see the 2016 Handbook to Eddic Poetry: Myths and Legends of Early Scandinavia from Cambridge University Press) and the University of Cambridge, where she was Research Associate on the Gersum Project (2016–20). From 2021 she is Departmental Lecturer in Old Norse in the Faculty of English at the University of Oxford and Lady Margaret Hall.

"We are completely thrilled, and immensely grateful to the British Academy for this tremendous honour. It’s a special privilege to receive a prize named to commemorate the scholarship of Sir Israel Gollancz, whose groundbreaking work on Middle English poetry the Gersum Project team used every day. We would like to thank the AHRC for funding our work, the Universities of Cambridge and Cardiff, our project partners at the Digital Humanities Institute in Sheffield, and all our many friends who have been involved in this massive team effort over so many years."

- The Gersum Project team

Previous winners

2019 Professor David Wallace, University of Pennsylvania

2017 Dr Helmut Gneuss FBA, Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich

2015  Professor Ralph Hanna, University of Oxford

2013  Professor Leslie Lockett, Ohio State University

2011  Professor Jill Mann FBA, Honorary Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford

2009  Professor Michael Lapidge FBA, Emeritus Fellow, Clare College, Cambridge

2007  Professor James Simpson

2005  Professor Patrick P O'Neill

2003  Professor Robert Lewis

2001  Professor Malcolm Godden and the late Professor Peter Clemoes

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