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

2022 Competition

The Franklin quote for interpretation in 2022 is ‘The Eyes of other People are the Eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine Clothes, fine Houses nor Fine Furniture.’ Letter to Benjamin Vaughan, 1784. Please find details of how to enter below:

  • Entries of 1000-1500 words must be sent to education@benjaminfranklinhouse.org by 31 October 2022
  • Entrants must be aged 18-25 years and living in the UK
  • Each Entrant is asked to provide their name, preferred email, postal address and phone number within the email and the entry attached as a word document. In addition entrants should provide their age and place of study (if applicable; if they are not in education, they should provide a biographical note explaining their current activities)
  • Entrants may submit only one entry; fiction or non-fiction

Please contact our Education Manager with any queries.

2021 Competition

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.

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

Talk: A Day in the Life of Benjamin Franklin

Join our Education Manager, Henry Wilkinson, as he discusses what could have been a day in the life of Benjamin Franklin whilst he resided here at 36 Craven Street over 250 years ago!

Follow in Franklin’s footsteps to unlock the secrets of success and happiness in the 18th Century. You will explore his ‘thirteen virtues’ and gain the perfect template for an orderly life, in Franklin’s own words.

From his morning routine, you’ll learn how to start the day right and pick up some excellent tips on cleanliness and healthy living, Georgian style. You also will broaden your palette to get a taste for Georgian cuisine as we explore the food and drink that was cooked up in our historic kitchen.

The talk will last roughly 1 hour and is FREE. To secure a slot, please register for the webinar here.