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Honorary Patron - John Banville 

Hubert Butler

Hubert Butler

The deadline for the 2019 prize has now passed and we will be announcing the winners on the 23rd October at the Irish Embassy in London, where the prizes will be handed out by our Honorary Patron John Banville.

Please check back here on or after the 23rd October to see who the winners were and to read the essay that won first prize.


The Hubert Butler Essay Prize (a first prize of £1,000 and two second prizes of £500) is intended to encourage the art of essay-writing with a European dimension and to expand interest in Butler's work.

It is designed to reflect Butler’s interest in the common ground between the European nation states that emerged after the First World War; his concern with the position of religious and ethnic minorities; his life and writings as an encapsulation of the mantra ‘Think globally, act locally’; the importance of the individual conscience; and his work with refugees. 

Roy Foster on the Hubert Butler Essay Prize

‘Hubert Butler's extraordinary oeuvre, after a lifetime's essay-writing, gained world-wide attention when Lilliput Press began publishing his work in volume form in the 1980s. His subjects spanned an arc from Ireland to eastern Europe and beyond, and his preoccupation with freedom of thought, the making and unmaking of nation states, and the threats presented by one kind of totalitarianism or another, have never been more relevant. This essay prize is founded to recognize Butler's achievement in intellectual history, and to encourage the kind of economical but substantial essay-writing which he perfected, on the sort of subjects which he persistently brought to attention. In the present state of the world, there could be no better way to commemorate a thinker whose uncompromising insights into follies and barbarities are more illuminating than ever.’

The prize is organised by HEART London, an arts charity which promotes the best of European liberal values – values that Hubert Butler embodied.

Awarded annually, the prize is open to EU citizens aged 18 and over.

How to Enter