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.


a) 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 closed. Nominations will open again in December 2021.

2019 winner

Sir Israel Gollancz 2019 winner

David Wallace for his lifetime contribution into the study of Chaucer and Medieval English literature.

David Wallace has been Judith Rodin Professor of English & Related Literature at the University of Pennsylvania since 1996, with visiting positions at Melbourne, Princeton, and Jerusalem. He served as President of the New Chaucer Society, 2004-6, and as President of the Medieval Academy of America, 2018-19.

His Chaucerian Polity: Associational Lineages and Associational Forms in England and Italy (1997) won the Lowell Prize for best book by a member of the Modern Language Association of America. Strong Women: Life, Text, and Territory, 1347-1645 (2011) was developed from Clarendon lectures given at Oxford in 2007. Edited projects include The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature (1999) and, supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, Europe: A Literary History, 1348-1418 (2 vols, 2016). Recipient of three teaching awards, he is offering open Chaucer classes at the Rosenbach Museum, Philadelphia, in autumn 2019. His Chaucer: A Very Short Introduction is published this month.

"I am delighted to be awarded this prize, and amazed to be thus connected with legendary figures such as C.S. Lewis and C.T. Onions, J.M. Manly and Dorothy Whitelock. My deepest thanks for this honour to the British Academy, to its selection committee, and to all those with whom I have studied Chaucer and medieval literatures, English and European."

- David Wallace, August 2019

Previous winners

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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