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The Bill Ellis Prize

The New Directions in Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society (formerly NewFolk@AFS) invites submissions for annual Bill Ellis Prize competition, first offered in 2012. The prize is awarded to the best graduate student essay that combines research and analysis on folklore, broadly construed, and digital culture, popular culture, or new media. The prize carries an honorarium of $100. The winning essay will normally be submitted for publication in the section’s journal, New Directions in Folklore. All unpublished research papers written within two years of the deadline on the desired topic are eligible. Students must submit their own essays. Previously published essays are not eligible for the competition.

Three judges who are members of the American Folklore Society, the New Directions in Folklore Section, and the New Directions in Folklore editorial board will evaluate the submissions. The winner will be announced at the annual section meeting. 

How to Apply:

  • Applicants must be members of the New Directions in Folklore Section at the time of submission (join today).
  • The deadline for the annual competition is September 15.
  • Essays should be sent to; electronic submission of essays is required. Please clearly label that this is a Bill Ellis Prize submission, as we receive journal submissions at the same address.
  • Limit one submission per person.

 Please contact the prize committee chair at with any questions.

Past Winners:

  • 2016: Anna O'Brien (Penn State Harrisburg), "'Hello My Darling, Pisces!': Video Horoscopes and Social Expression through Occultic Practice"
  • 2017: Saeedeh Niktab Etaati (Memorial University of Newfoundland), "'I Repeat, Vote for all Individuals in Both the Lists': Digital Hybridity in the 'Telegramic' Elections in Iran"
  • 2018: Natalie Dignam (Memorial University of Newfoundland), "The Brewnettes: Women in Newfoundland’s Emerging Craft Beer Scene"

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