Literary Prize

Benjamin Franklin is one of history’s great figures. While he made lasting contributions in many fields, his first passion was writing. He believed in the power of the written word as the bedrock of a democratic society, to inform, and stimulate debate.

Each year a question or quote exploring Franklin’s relevance in our time is open for interpretation in 1000-1500 words. The competition is exclusively for young writers, aged 18-25, with a first prize of £750, and a second prize of £500. Winning entries will be published on our website.

The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize is held in association with The Telegraph and endowed by Benjamin Franklin House Chairman John Studzinski, a leading executive and philanthropist.

Literary Prize Judges

  • Dr. Márcia Balisciano, Director of Benjamin Franklin House
  • Lord Guy Black, Executive Director of the Telegraph Media Group
  • Wendy Moore, English journalist, author, and historian
  • Dr. Huw David, Director of Development at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford
  • Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group and Board Member of Benjamin Franklin House

2019 Competition

Man giving a talk in Franklin's parlour
People standing and chatting in Franklin's parlour
A woman giving a talk in Franklin's parlour
People watching a presentation in Franklin's parlour

The quote for 2021 was ‘‘Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.’ Silence Dogood, No.8, The New-England Courant (1722). We accepted both fiction and non-fiction entries from aspiring writers aged 18 to 25.

Our first-place winner was Selin Cetin, a student in Journalism at the University of Kent. Read Selin’s non-fiction entry here.

Our second-place winner was Gabby Fadullon, a student in English Literature at UCL. Read Gabby’s fiction entry, here.

2022 Competition

The Franklin quote for interpretation in 2022 will be announced on 31 May so check back then for more details of how to enter.  

In the meantime, please contact our Education Manager with any queries.

Illustration of Benjamin Franklin writing at a desk
Feather quill and handwritten letter
Join Us

Talk: Franklin and his British Friends

Dr. Márcia Balisciano, Director of Benjamin Franklin House will introduce Franklin’s British milieu, those who challenged and sustained him during his long London sojourn.  Fellow members of the Lunar Society like Josiah Wedgwood, Erasmus Darwin and Matthew Bolton, reformed rogues like Sir Francis Dashwood, and artists like the blind organist John Stanley will all feature in this illustrated talk.