The Katharine Briggs Folklore Award

The Katharine Briggs Folklore Award is an annual book prize established by the Folklore Society to encourage the study of folklore, to help improve the standard of folklore publications in Britain and Ireland, to establish the Folklore Society as an arbiter of excellence, and to commemorate the life and work of the distinguished scholar Katharine Mary Briggs (1898-1980; Society president 1969-1972).

For the purposes of the award, 'folklore studies' are interpreted broadly, to include all aspects of traditional and popular culture, narrative, beliefs, customs and folk arts, including studies with a literary, anthropological, linguistic, sociological or geographical bias.

The award is open to all books in English (not translations) on folklore having their first, original and initial publication in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland in the period from 1 June to the following 31 May, for award in the subsequent November. This can include new scholarly editions of previously published texts, but excludes reprints, folktales retold for children, and simple collections of tales devoid of scholarly apparatus.

Pamphlets, booklets and brochures do not constitute a 'book' for the purposes of the award. Where there is any doubt whether an entry is a 'book', the judges shall arbitrate and their decision is final. Books published by the Folklore Society, or written or published by a member of the Society's Committee are not eligible.

Each year there are three judges appointed by the Society's Committee. The Award Convenor cannot be a judge. The winning book will be that which, in the opinion of the judges, has made the most distinguished contribution to folklore studies in the year in question. However, judges may withhold the Award if, in their opinion, no book reaches the required standard. The judges' decision is final.

The Award is presented at the reception following the annual Katharine Briggs Lecture in November. The main prize is the Award itself, but the winning author will be presented with an engraved goblet and a cheque for £200.

Rules

  1. The Folklore Society has established an annual book prize to be called 'The Katharine Briggs Folklore Award'. The purpose of the Award is to encourage the study of Folklore, to help improve the standard of Folklore publications in Britain, to establish The Folklore Society as an arbiter of excellence and to commemorate the life and work of Katharine M. Briggs.
  2. 'Folklore Studies' will be interpreted broadly, to include all aspects of traditional and popular culture, narrative, beliefs, customs and folk arts, including studies with a literary, anthropological, linguistic, sociological or geographical bias.
  3. The Award is open to all books in English (normally not translations) on folklore having their first, original and initial publication in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland in the period from 1 June to the following 31 May, for award in the subsequent November. This can include new scholarly editions of previously published texts but excludes reprints, or folktales retold for children.
  4. Pamphlets, booklets and brochures do not normally constitute a 'book' for the purpose of the KBFA. Where there is doubt that an entry is a 'book' or not, the Judges shall arbitrate and their decision is final.
  5. Four copies of each book submitted for the Award must reach the Award Judges at the Society's office by 31 May for the Award the following November.
  6. There will be three Judges appointed by the Folklore Society's Committee. The winning book will be that which, in the opinion of the Judges, made the most distinguished contribution to folklore studies in the year in question.
  7. The Award will be presented at the Reception following the annual Katharine Briggs Lecture in November. The main prize will be the Award itself, but the winning author, or authors, will be presented with an engraved goblet and a cheque for £200. Where an author, or authors, is/are unable to attend the Reception in person, a representative of the publishers of the winning entry, will be invited to attend.
  8. No book published by the Folklore Society, nor written or published by a member of the Society's Committee may be considered for the Award.
  9. Books submitted for the Award will not be returned, including any subsequently disqualified according to these Rules.
  10. The Judges may withhold the Award if, in their opinion, no book reaches the required standard.
  11. The Judges' decision is final. The Convenor of Katharine Briggs Folklore Award cannot be a Judge.
  12. The Society's Committee may amend these Rules as it sees fit in future years.

Submission procedure

The Convenor sends out a call for submissions each March, but unsolicited entries from either publishers or authors are also very welcome, as the Convenor's mailing list can never be comprehensive.

Four copies of each book submitted for the Award must reach the Society's office by 31 May to be eligible for the Award that November. Where books are published in late May, the entry form must be received in the office by 31 May and the books sent with a Post Office certificate of posting dated on or before 31 May. It is highly recommended that books be sent either by Registered/Recorded Delivery, or by courier. Books submitted for the Award will not be returned, even if subsequently disqualified according to the rules. Publishers and authors are therefore advised to read the rules with great care, as each year several books are disqualified, usually for falling outside the permitted dates of publication, or for being reprints or second editions.

Download the application form.

Previous winners

  • 2013 Karl BELL, The Legend of Spring-Heeled Jack: Victorian Urban Folklore and Popular Cultures (Boydell Press)
  • 2012 David HOPKIN, Voices of the People in Nineteenth-Century France, published by Cambridge University Press.
  • 2011 Herbert HALPERT, edited by John Widdowson, Folk Tales, Trickster Tales and Legends of the Supernatural from the Pinelands of New Jersey, published by Edwin Mellen Press
  • 2010 Arthur TAYLOR, Played at the Pub: the Pub Games of Britain, published by English Heritage Publications
  • 2009 Kathryn MARSH, The Musical Playground: Global Tradition and Change in Children's Songs and Games, (Oxford University Press)
  • 2008 Richard BEBB, Welsh Furniture 1250-1950: a Cultural History of Craftsmanship and Design (Saer Books)
  • 2007 Jack ZIPES, Why Fairy Tales Stick (Routledge)
  • 2006 Catherine RIDER, Magic and Impotence in the Middle Ages (Oxford University Press)
  • 2005 Jeremy HARTE, Explore Fairy Traditions (Heart of Albion Press)
  • 2004 Steve ROUD, The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland (Penguin)
  • 2003 Malcolm JONES, The Secret Middle Ages (Sutton)
  • 2002 Elizabeth HALLAM and Jenny HOCKEY, Death, Memory and Material Culture (Berg)
  • 2001 Adam FOX, Oral and Literate Culture in England, 1500-1700 (Clarendon Press)
  • 2000 Diarmuid O'GIOLLAIN, Locating Irish Folklore: Tradition, Modernity, Identity (Cork University Press)
  • 1999 Marina WARNER, No Go the Bogeyman: Scaring, Lulling and Making Mock (Chatto and Windus)
  • 1998 Joseph Falaky NAGY, Conversing with Angels and Ancients The Literary Myths of Medieval Ireland (Four Courts)
  • 1997 Neil JARMAN, Parading Culture: Parades and Visual Displays in Northern Ireland (Berg)
  • 1996 Mary-Ann CONSTANTINE, Breton Ballads (CMCS Publications)
  • 1995 Timothy MITCHELL, Flamenco Deep Song (Yale University Press)
  • 1994 Claudia KINMONTH, Irish Country Furniture 1700-1950 (Yale University Press)
  • 1993 Georgina BOYES, The Imagined Village: Culture, Ideology, and the English Folk Revival (Manchester University Press)
  • 1992 E.P. THOMPSON, Customs in Common (Merlin Press)
  • 1991 Simon CHARSLEY, Rites of Marrying: The Wedding Industry in Scotland (Manchester University Press)
  • 1990 Paul OLIVER, Blues Fell This Morning (Cambridge University Press)
  • 1989 J.P. MALLORY, In Search of the Indo-Europeans Language, Archaeology and Myth (Thames & Hudson)
  • 1988 Hilda Ellis DAVIDSON, Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe (Manchester University Press)
  • 1987 Amy SHUMAN, Storytelling Rights (Cambridge University Press)
  • 1986 lona and Peter OPIE, The Singing Game (Oxford University Press)
  • 1985 Vladimir PROPP, Theory and History of Folklore, edited by Anatoly Liberman (Manchester University Press)
  • 1984 Sandra BILLINGTON, A Social History of the Fool (Harvester Press)
  • 1983 Michael PICKERING, Village Song and Culture (Croom Helm)
  • 1982 Samuel Pyeatt MENEFEE, Wives for Sale: an Ethnographic Study of British Popular Divorce (Basil Blackwell)