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Stanner Award

The AIATSIS Stanner Award is presented biennially to the best academic manuscript submitted by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander author.

The Stanner Award is open to all Indigenous authors, scholars and academics; however, submissions must not be under consideration by other publishers or simultaneously entered in to other awards, and no more than 20 per cent of the submission previously published. Please read the conditions of entry, below, carefully before considering submitting.

2023 Stanner Award

The 2023 Stanner Award has now closed, thank you to all who have submitted.

The prize

  • A glass sculpture by award-winning artist Jenni Kemarre Martiniello.
  • $5000 prize money.
  • Mentoring and editorial support (up to 50 hours) to bring the manuscript to a publishable standard.
  • Publication of the manuscript by Aboriginal Studies Press.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses up to $500.

Further reading


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Please direct all enquiries to with subject line “Stanner Award enquiry”. Please check that your question isn't already answered in the FAQs below before getting in touch.

  • Conditions of entry
    About the Stanner Award
    • The Stanner Award is open to Indigenous Australians over 18 years of age who have written a scholarly manuscript in the area of Australian Indigenous studies, and which is not fiction or poetry.
    • The Stanner Award is presented every two years.
    • The winner receives:
      • $5000 prize money.
      • a glass sculpture by award-winning artist Jenni Kemarre Martiniello, inscribed with their name.
      • publication of the winning manuscript by Aboriginal Studies Press.
      • up to 50 hours of mentoring and editorial support to prepare the manuscript for publishing by Aboriginal Studies Press.
      • up to $500 (not including travel or accommodation) for out-of-pocket expenses the winner may incur during the editing process.
    • Winning authors are expected to participate in media activities associated with the award. Commended authors may be required to do the same. AIATSIS meets the reasonable costs of attendance at media events.
    Who can enter

    The Stanner Award is open to Indigenous Australians over 18 years of age. The award’s criteria for an Indigenous Australian are that the person must:

    • be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent; and
    • identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander; and
    • be accepted as such by the community in which she or he lives or has lived.

    Entrants must authenticate their Indigeneity by one of the following two methods:

    • submission of a Confirmation of Aboriginality form certified by an Indigenous community organisation whose executive committee is made up of at least 75 per cent Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander members; or
    • submission of contact details of two Indigenous Australian referees who are current board members of an Indigenous community organisation and meet the above criteria, and can support the entrant’s claims against the above criteria. Referees must be contactable between 28 February and 30 June 2023.

    Submitted manuscripts will not be eligible if the entrant’s claim cannot be authenticated.

    You may not enter the Stanner Award if you are:

    • a member of the AIATSIS Council and Research Advisory Committee.
    • a previous winner of the Stanner Award. If you previously entered the award but did not win, you may enter subsequent awards with a new manuscript. Previously submitted manuscripts will not be accepted.

    You may enter the Stanner Award if you are an Australian Indigenous AIATSIS staff member or Australian Indigenous visiting researcher and meet the above criteria.

    About entering the Award
    • There is no entry fee.
    • Entries must be accompanied by the entry form. 
    • The manuscript must be the original work of the author or authors and must not infringe the rights of others.
    • Entrants may have had other work published previously, but the submitted work must not have been previously published in whole or in part (if that part constitutes more than 20 per cent of the manuscript); this does not include a thesis appearing in a university repository).
    • The manuscript must not be under consideration by other publishers or currently entered into other awards. Aboriginal Studies Press has the right to consider all manuscripts submitted for the award for publication, and will advise entrants of the outcome by 30 August 2023; after this date authors are free to submit their manuscripts elsewhere.
    • Manuscripts submitted to previous Stanner Awards, or to Aboriginal Studies Press for publication, are not eligible; however, manuscripts that have been previously submitted to other publishers for publication are eligible.
    • Entrants may submit one entry only, either as an individual author or as one of up to three joint authors, but not both. (Up to three authors may have collaborated on the manuscript. Collections will not be accepted.)
    • If there are two or three authors use one entry form. Each author must sign the entry form. Unsigned entry forms are not accepted.
    • Manuscripts must be between 60,000 and 120,000 words. All preliminary and end matter material, notes and references should be included in the total word count.
    • Entry submissions must include a synopsis summarising what the manuscript is about. This must not exceed one page and should include the title of the thesis at the top, but not the author names.
    • Author names should appear on the entry form only, and not on the manuscript or summary. Manuscripts are numbered when received to ensure impartial judging.
    • Entries open 1 July 2022; submissions received before this date will not be accepted.
    • Entries close 5pm AEST, 28 February 2023. Late submissions will not be accepted; however entries post-marked 28 February 2023 but that arrive after this date will be accepted.
    • Receipt of submissions is acknowledged by email.
    • Manuscripts will not be returned. Send only electronic copies.
    • Email entries to with subject line “2023 Stanner Award submission”.
    Presenting and formatting manuscript
    • Only digital manuscripts delivered electronically will be accepted.
    • Send two copies of your manuscript: 
      • One Word document
      • One pdf version of the Word document (this is to ensure that we have an exact copy of your original Word document).
    • Text is to be set in 12 pt Times New Roman.
    • Text is to be double spaced, with 2.5 cm margins on all sides.
    • The title and a page number should appear on every page, as either a header or footer.
    • All pages should be numbered sequentially and not by chapter.
    • Author names should only appear on the entry form and not anywhere on the manuscript or synopsis.
    • The manuscript must be written in English and include English translations of any text in other languages.
    • If manuscripts do not meet the conditions of entry, they will not be accepted.
    • Three judges assess the manuscripts on the following criteria (in no particular order):
      • scholarly merit
      • contribution to the advancement of knowledge of the subject matter
      • strength in the promotion of, and contribution to, greater awareness, understanding and acceptance of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander intellectual traditions, cultures and identities
      • potential to be read by a broad audience as a published book.
    • The decision of the judges will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
    • The judges may not award the prize if no entry is deemed to be of an appropriate standard.
    • Judges are selected for their expertise and past experience. Aboriginal Studies Press only administers the award and its staff are not involved in judging the manuscripts.
    • Judges may commend manuscripts they deem of exceptional quality.
    Publication by Aboriginal Studies Press
    • Aboriginal Studies Press reserves the right of first option to publish the winning manuscript (after editing). Publication is subject to an agreed contract with the publisher’s usual terms.
    • The winner is required to work collaboratively with an experienced mentor and/or editor selected by Aboriginal Studies Press.
    • Aboriginal Studies Press also reserves the right of first option to publish all other manuscripts submitted for the Stanner Award, and will advise authors of the outcome of their decision by 30 August 2023; after this date authors are free to submit their manuscripts elsewhere.
  • FAQs
    Parts of my thesis have previously been published, can I still submit to the award?

    Yes, as long as no more than 20 per cent of the total work has been previously published. In previous years the Stanner Award has allowed for just 10 per cent of a thesis to have been published. This is the first year AIATSIS are changing this requirement, in recognition of the demand on academics to publish broadly and often.

    My university requires me to place my thesis in their online repository, can I submit it to the award?

    Yes. AIATSIS will be accepting theses that have been disseminated in this form. We recognise that most institutions now require students to do this, so we’ve amended our Conditions of Entry. However, any other forms of online publication must still adhere to the rule of being no more than 20 per cent of the total work.

    How can I submit my thesis?

    Email entries to with subject line “2023 Stanner Award submission”.
    Read more in the Conditions of Entry.  

    I’m the editor of a collection of writings/an anthology. Can I enter it into the award?

    No, collected writings or anthologies will not be accepted. Three writers for one manuscript is the maximum number acceptable for the Award.

    What do you mean by a scholarly manuscript?

    A scholarly manuscript in the area of Australian Indigenous studies is one which is underpinned by research and/or theorising which would derive from or be expected of someone undertaking postgraduate work, either at the MA or PhD level. More often these types of manuscripts are intended for an academically informed audience, though it is possible for authors to attract a general readership as well.

    What kind of referees are you looking for?

    Your referees must be Indigenous Australians who meet the criteria for Indigeneity set out in the Conditions of Entry, and can confirm that you meet those three criteria as well. Referees must also be able to provide proof that they are a current board member of an Indigenous community organisation.

    Can I submit a thesis?

    Yes, you can submit a thesis. While normally publishers don’t accept theses for publishing, it is expected that the mentoring and editorial support provided as part of the prize will allow the author to produce a publishable manuscript. Read our Reworking your thesis for publication resource.

    I’ve never submitted my work to an award before. Do you have any advice for me?

    Firstly, make sure your manuscript is produced to the highest standards possible. Check it (or have someone else check it) for spelling and grammatical mistakes. Then follow the instructions provided in the Conditions of Entry.

    You might like to read more about Aboriginal Studies Press. This information provides an overview of publishing with Aboriginal Studies Press (ASP), or what you might expect if your manuscript won the Stanner Award and/or you were published by ASP.

    Do I need to seek copyright permission/s before I submit my entry?

    Not at this stage. If you win the Award, or ASP makes an offer to publish your manuscript, the contract you sign with ASP for publication will spell out your responsibilities regarding copyright clearances for publication. For further information on this issue, please read more on about permissions.

    Why can’t I put my/our name/s on the manuscript? Won’t that be confusing?

    We want to ensure that the judges are able to make fair and unbiased judgments about the merits of the manuscripts submitted. To facilitate that, ASP will use a numbering system to track the manuscripts through the judging process. That’s also why we ask entrants to insert the name of their thesis in to the header or footer of every page.

    Will you provide feedback on my entry?

    ASP staff will not be involved in the judging process and won’t be in a position to provide feedback. The judges may choose to release some comments on the shortlist and the winner, but unsuccessful entrants will not receive direct feedback.

2021 Stanner Award

Congratulations to Sarah Bourke on winning the 2021 Stanner Award.

Making Cultures Count: Transforming Indigenous Health Data in Australia

Sarah's thesis tracking the development of the first truly empowering national study of health and wellbeing in Indigenous Australia (the Mayi Kuwayu National Study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing) was assessed by a panel of independent judges as the best academic manuscript submitted for the 2021 Stanner Award.

AIATSIS CEO Craig Ritchie announces the 2021 Stanner Award, followed by a discussion between the winner, Sarah Bourke and Professor Bronwyn Fredericks. 

Previous Stanner Award winners

Year Author Title


Sarah Bourke

Making Cultures Count: Transforming Indigenous Health Data in Australia

2019 Dr Debbie Bargallie Maintaining the racial contract: Everyday racism and the impact of racial microagressions on "Indigenous employees" in the Australian Public Service
2017 Dr Josie Douglas Kin and Knowledge: the meaning and acquisition of Indigenous Ecological Knowledge in the lives of young Aboriginal people in Central Australia
2015 Dr Virginia Marshall Overturning aqua nullius: securing Aboriginal water rights
2013 Dr Bronwyn Carlson The politics of identity: who counts as Aboriginal today?
2011 Dr Hannah McGlade Our greatest challenge: Aboriginal  children  and human rights

About W E H (Bill) Stanner

The Stanner Award acknowledges the significant contribution of the late Emeritus Professor William Edward Hanley (Bill) Stanner to the establishment and development of AIATSIS. Born on 24 November 1905, Stanner worked as a journalist before graduating with a MA (Class 1 Honours) in Anthropology from the University of Sydney in 1934. Stanner moved to London in 1936 where he completed his PhD at the London School of Economics.

Stanner's pre-war experience in Northern Australia from anthropological field trips led to him being directed to "raise and command" what became the 2/1st North Australia Observer Unit (NAOU) in 1942. Stanner later served in Europe, Britain and then in British North Borneo until the conclusion of World War II.

Following the war Stanner returned to his anthropological work, becoming a prominent writer, lecturer and advocate of the study and appreciation of Australia''s Indigenous cultures and peoples. He was an influential figure prior to the successful 1967 referendum and was invited by Prime Minister Harold Holt to join H C Coombs and Barrie Dexter to form the Commonwealth Council for Aboriginal Affairs to advise on national policy. Following this Stanner played an important role in establishing AIATSIS' original incarnation, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (AIAS).

Stanner died on 8 October 1981, aged 75.

Last updated: 25 July 2023