2023 Irene Adler Prize Goes to Shannan Mann: Toronto Writer Wins $1,000 Scholarship in Global Essay Competition

Shannan Mann has won the 2023 Irene Adler Prize for her essay, "All Blue, Ana." Mann, who will receive $1,000 toward her education, is seeking her B.A. at the University of Toronto (English Specialist). This is the first year that the annual essay competition - founded in 2017 - has welcomed entries from contestants worldwide as well as the U.S. and Canada.

The Irene Adler Prize offers a $1,000 scholarship to a woman pursuing a degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution. As of 2023, the prize money pool has expanded to include up to two $250 honorable mentions.

"Shannan's essay powerfully and poetically documents the challenging experience of childbirth," said prize founder Lucas Aykroyd. "In a year that witnessed compelling entries from countries as diverse as Australia, India, and Nigeria, this essay inspired by Maya Angelou's philosophy of resilience stood out."

Honorable mentions went to Sophia DuRose ("Music, Baby!"), who is pursuing her M.F.A. in poetry at Temple University, and Madison Kunz ("A Swing-Set Goodbye"), who is doing her B.A. in English literature at Queens University.

Aykroyd is an award-winning Vancouver writer and public speaker whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Toronto Star, Ms. Magazine, and Shondaland. He has covered women's hockey for IIHF.com at six Olympics and serves as the editor-in-chief of WomenSport International's newsletter. Aykroyd holds an M.A. in English literature from the University of Victoria, which gave him the Distinguished Alumni Award.

The Irene Adler Prize is named after the heroine of the 1891 Sherlock Holmes detective story "A Scandal in Bohemia" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

For more on the Irene Adler Prize, the 2023 winning essay, and past winners, see:


The 2024 Irene Adler Prize submission guidelines will be released in January.

Source: Lucas Aykroyd, scholarship founder