The Reid Prize

The Reid Prize

The Reid Prize

For the most significant book contributing to the understanding of Asia

The Reid Prize recognises work that has made an exemplary contribution to understanding of Asia. The prize was established to acknowledge the importance of ongoing efforts to deepen public understanding internationally of Asian cultures, politics, histories and societies.

This prize will be awarded biennially to the book that has best advanced the understanding of Asia in the last four years. This may include fiction, non-fiction, academic books and translations into English of major works originally authored by Asian writers. Eligible authors/ translators must be based in Australia or New Zealand, or Australian/New Zealand citizens currently residing in Asia. The rules on this page are the rules for the 2021-2022 round. The rules for the 2023-2024 prize round will be made public on this page prior to the opening of the round in September 2023.

The prize is to the value of AUD $8,000. The prize will be administered by the ASAA Council. Nominations will be compiled by the Reid Prize Search Committee and judged by an independent panel of a minimum of three (3) judges drawn from academic experts of Asia to be appointed by the ASAA executive. The prize winner will be invited to give the Reid Lecture at the biennial ASAA conference. In addition to the cash prize, the cost of an economy airfare within Australia or from New Zealand (if needed), two (2) nights accommodation and taxi transfers will be covered.

The timing of the announcement for the winners of this prize will be posted on this page once known. The committee will not enter into correspondence from applicants regarding the announcement deadline. Individual feedback is not provided to unsuccessful applicants.
It is a condition of receipt of the prize that the winner is willing to serve on the committee for this prize in a future round.

2022 Reid Prize Winner

The 2022 winners were the co-authors Professor Assa Doron (ANU) and Emeritus Professor Robin Jeffrey (La Trobe University/ANU) for the book Waste of a Nation: Garbage and Growth in India (Harvard University Press, 2018). The authors of this outstanding book presented the Reid lecture at the ASAA 2022 conference, which was held at Monash University from 5-8 July, 2022. Read more about the 2022 winners here and the 2022 shortlist hereThe jurors for the 2022 Reid prize were Professor Krishna Sen, Emeritus Professor Purnendra Jain, and Professor Anne Mclaren.

This prize is generously endowed by Tony and Helen Reid (read more about Tony and Helen here).

Tony and Helen Reid at the AAS in 2010.

The book must:

  • have been published during the four (4) calendar years immediately prior to the first day of January of the year in which it is to be awarded (To be eligible for the Inaugural 2022 Reid Prize books must be published no earlier than 1 January 2018)
  • be by author/translators who are based in Australia or New Zealand, or Australian/New Zealand citizens resident in Asia
  • be nominated by members of the Reid Prize Search Committee or a third party (‘third party’ in this instance includes members of ASAA or NZASIA who may send recommendations for nominations to the Reid Prize Search Committee by 15 November 2021 via the Reid Prize Secretariat at
  • meet the selection criteria

The book must:

  • in the opinion of the judges, have made a significant contribution to promote understanding of Asia internationally
  • have had substantial public impact as demonstrated by a wide readership and significant public engagement with the work

In order to ensure the quality of applications the ASAA will form a Reid Prize Search Committee. The ASAA will invite the ASAA Prize representative, the president of the ASAA, and the presidents or nominees of the following councils to sit on the Committee:

Enquiries from authors and publishers are welcome; please contact Jemma Purdey.

Judging Guidelines for the prize can be downloaded here.

Nominations Open: 6 September 2021

Nominations Close: 15 November 2021

Search Committee

Each member of the Search Committee will be provided with a standard nomination form and asked to prepare a case (max 500 words) detailing how the nominated book has made a significant contribution to promoting understanding of Asia internationally.

To make the case for a substantial public impact the submission should include evidence of a wide readership and significant public engagement with the work. Supporting documentary evidence such as reviews may be included. The submission must include full details of the book, the author and publisher. Members of the Search Committee may contact nominees for help in compiling information.

ASAA Prize Representative

All nominations will be checked for eligibility and against the selection criteria by the ASAA Prize representative for further consideration before being presented to the judges. The prize representative will also specifically seek out fiction and translation potential nominations.


Reid Prize FAQ – and answers:

Works must be published within four years of 1 January in the year the prize is being awarded (ie. for the 2022 Prize publication date must be no earlier than 1 January 2018).

Yes, co-authored books are eligible; however, a majority of the authors must satisfy the eligibility criteria. (ie. they must be Australians or New Zealand citizens who are based in Australia or Asia; or citizens of an Asian country who are based in Australia or New Zealand).

Sole-edited are eligible.

Single-authored books of poetry, collections of short stories and drama are eligible.

Yes, so long as the book and translator also satisfy other eligibility criteria.

The author/translator should be resident in Australia or New Zealand. In the case where there is more than one author/translator, a majority must fulfil this requirement in order to be eligible.

Australians and New Zealanders who are based outside Australia and New Zealand at the time of nomination will only be eligible in cases where they have co-authored or co-edited books with colleagues resident in those countries.

Yes. The prize if open to Asian citizens who are resident in Australia or New Zealand at the time of nomination.

A. To ensure the quality and breadth of nominations the ASAA will form a Reid Prize Search Committee to put forward nominations. The committee will include the ASAA Prize representative, the President of the ASAA, and the presidents or nominees of affiliated sub-regional councils and associations. Third party nominations are also accepted from current members of ASAA and NZASIA via the Prize Secretariat.

No. Books can only be nominated by members of the ASAA Search Committee (see below) OR by current members of the ASAA and NZASIA.

This is the most prestigious prize of its kind for work on Asia from Australia and New Zealand. The independent nomination process is designed to ensure that the prize reflects the depth and breadth of high-quality talent and expertise across many disciplinary areas and literary and academic genres of writing within Australia and New Zealand. For more on the role of the Search Committee, see here.

No. However, publishers are welcome to send details of eligible books to the Prize Secretariat ( for the consideration of the Search Committee.

The judging panel will include three eminent scholars reflecting a breadth of country and disciplinary expertise. The judges are appointed by the ASAA Executive.

Take a look here to read their short biographies.

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