The Sophie Coe Prize

The world's best prize for writing on food history

Sophie Coe Prize 2016: entries due by 1st May

Entries for the 2016 Sophie Coe Prize must be submitted by the closing date of Sunday 1st May 2016. Full details of all entry conditions are available on this website under the ‘How to Enter’ tab.

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2015 Winner announced

The Sophie Coe Prize 2015 was awarded (in absentia) at the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery on Saturday 4th July to Anya Zilberstein, for her essay ‘Inured to Empire: Wild Rice and Climate Change’. Accepting the prize on her behalf, Trustee Phil Iddison told Symposiasts that although birthday celebrations prevented the Montreal-based historian collecting the prize in person, she was delighted and honoured by this award for her first foray into food history writing. The judges described her essay as a celebration of a ‘marvelous forgotten moment in food history’.

Janet Beizer’s ‘The Emperor’s Plate: Marketing Leftovers in Nineteenth-Century Paris’ and Madeline Shanahan’s ‘“Whipt with a twig rod”: Irish manuscript recipe books as sources for the study of culinary material culture, ca. 1600 to1830’ were highly commended by the judges as being significant contributions to the field; while the judges commended Anthony Buccini’s ‘The Merchants of Genoa and the Diffusion of Southern Italian Pasta Culture in Europe.’

Professor Michael Coe giving his speech at the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery, 2015. Photograph by Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir

Professor Michael Coe giving his speech at the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery, 2015. Photograph by Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir.

Ken Albala’s ‘La Cuisinière Canadienne: The Cookbook as Communication’ and Máirtin Mac Con Iomaire’s ‘Gastro-Topography: Exploring Food-Related Placenames in Ireland’ were also singled out by the judges for an honourable mention.

Zilberstein, as well the commended entries and all previous prize winners were heartily congratulated by the founder of the trust, Professor Michael Coe. In a moving speech celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Prize, Coe reminded the audience of Oxford Food Symposiasts about the origins of the Prize, its development over its first twenty years of existence, and the close link between his late wife Sophie Coe, Alan Davidson and the wider Symposium family.

We heartily congratulate all of the commended writers.

To read the winning essays visit the Winners page, where you can also read the full Judges’ Report.

Sophie Coe Prize 2015 – judging underway

24 complete entries were received in time for the closing date of 1st May, and the judges have commenced their deliberations. We’ll know the outcome on 4th July 2015 when the Prize is awarded at the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery.

Good luck to all entrants!

Sophie Coe Prize 2015 – one week to go!

The 2015 Sophie Coe Prize closes in one week’s time. All entries, submitted in the forms stated in the Guidelines on our  How to Enter page, must reach us by midnight GMT on 1st May 2015.

There is still time to finish your work and get it to us – don’t miss out on the chance to win this year’s Prize.

Good luck!

Sophie Coe Prize 2015 – two weeks left

There are just two weeks left before the closing date for the 2015 Sophie Coe Prize. There is still time to get organised!

Check the Guidelines on the How to Enter page, and make sure you are clear on what you need to do. Remember – we need to receive all entries in the form stated in the Guidelines on or before 1st May 2014 in order for your work to go forward to be judged.

Don’t miss your chance to join what we hope will be another strong field competing for the prize.

Sophie Coe Prize 2015 – one month to go

There’s one more month to go before the 2015 Sophie Coe Prize submissions must all be in: the deadline for receipt of printed copies of entries is 1st May 2015. Whether your submission is almost ready or you’re only just getting started, now would be a good time to make sure you have read the How to Enter page in detail. Do make sure you are aware of and following all of the guidelines closely: our judges take note of all the details.

Good writing – and we look forward to receiving your entries as soon as you are ready.

Update to the Sophie Coe Prize Conditions

For all those considering entering the competition for this year’s Prize, please note that we have just published some minor edits to the Conditions of Entry.

These focus on length (section 1d); and referencing style (section 1a).

Length: The existing 10,000 word maximum is confirmed as being a total inclusive of notes and bibliography.

Style: Whilst we do not stipulate a particular style, we confirm a strong preference for footnoted over author-date referencing, and request that the bibliography contains only works cited.

You can access the full details on our How to Enter Page, which also advises you how to direct any further queries you may have.

Sophie Coe Prize 2015

2015 marks two decades of the Sophie Coe Prize! We will be celebrating its 20th birthday in various ways over the course of the year, and especially look forward to being in touch with all our past winners as well as those we are yet to meet.

Meanwhile, we are pleased to announce that the submission deadline for entries for this year’s Sophie Coe Prize in Food History is Friday 1st May 2015. This year there will be a single prize of £1,500.

As usual, the winner will be chosen by our anonymous panel of distinguished judges and awarded to a highly original and informative essay or article that embodies new research or provides new insights into some aspect of food history. Published and unpublished work of up to 10,000 words may be submitted. If the former, it must have been published within the last 12 months of the submission deadline. If the latter, it must be in immediately publishable form.

Entries MUST comply with all of our Guidelines in order to be considered: for full details please read our How to Enter page carefully. You can also take some inspiration from our previous winners.

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to apply for this prestigious and generous prize in its 20th anniversary year. You can Follow us (button at the bottom of the page) to receive updates and reminders about submitting your entry as the deadline approaches.

2014 Winners Announced

The Sophie Coe Prize 2014 was awarded at the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery on Saturday 12th July.

Van Dyk makes his acceptance speech (with Jane Levi and Andrew Coe behind)

With a record-breaking number of entries – 39 – the judges had their work cut out, but were delighted to select a clear winner in Garritt Van Dyk. His essay, ‘Méthode Anglaise: Transnational Exchange and the Origins of Champagne’ impressed them by combining “the twists and turns of a detective story with thorough and deep research to reach a startling conclusion” – that the creation of champagne owed more to British technology than to the legendary Dom Perignon. Garritt Van Dyk is therefore the 2014 winner and was presented with the £1,500 prize by Andrew Coe.

The judges also singled out three further submissions for commendation. Charmaine O’Brien‘s ‘Text For Dinner: Plain food in colonial Australia …or was it?’; Peter Beck’s ‘Tasting a Neighborhood: a Food History of Manhattan’s Lower East Side’; and Anya von Bremzen‘s chapter ‘The Last Days of the Czars’ from Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food, Family and Longing.

We heartily congratulate all four of the commended writers.

To read the winning essays visit the Winners page, where you can also read the full Judges’ Report.

Sophie Coe Prize 2014 – time’s up

The entry period for 2014’s Sophie Coe Prize is now closed, and the judges will commence their deliberations. They have a record-breaking number of varied and fascinating entries to consider, so their task will be a pleasurable – but not a quick or easy – one. Happy reading to them!

The winner will be announced and the prize presented at the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery over the weekend of the 11th – 13th July. Full details will be released here with suitable fanfare immediately afterwards.

Thanks to everyone that entered, and the very best of luck to you all.