Henahan writing prize

Entries are now being invited for the 2018 John Henahan writing competition for young ophthalmologists

Colin Kerr

Posted: Monday, February 5, 2018

Startup Stock Photos

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour 1908-1988

In 2008, the ESCRS decided to introduce a writing competition for young ophthalmologists. The John Henahan Prize was named in honour of John Henahan, who edited EuroTimes, the official news magazine of the ESCRS, from 1996 to 2001. The chairman of the judging panel is Dr Emanuel Rosen, founder of EuroTimes and former president of the ESCRS.

The purpose of the competition was to encourage young ophthalmologists to develop their writing skills, not only for professional purposes, but also to showcase their talents outside of ophthalmology.

Since the competition was launched 10 years ago, ophthalmologists from all over the world have submitted essays in the hope of winning the prize.

Some of them have gone on to become regular contributors to EuroTimes, including Drs Soosan Jacob, Leigh Spielberg, Sorcha Ni Dhubhghaill and Clare Quigley.

All of them are gifted ophthalmologists and through their writing they are sharing their knowledge with the 46,000 ophthalmologists who read EuroTimes every month.

Some doctors may argue that they do not have time to write and that their sole focus must be on treating patients and developing their surgical skills. But without writers, where would we get the textbooks that are essential to the training of our young surgeons? Even those who do not have their work published should consider the healing power of writing and how it can make us not only better doctors but better human beings.

That is why we are encouraging all ophthalmologists to consider entering the 2018 John Henahan Prize.
The topic for this year’s essay is ‘Do We Need A Randomised Controlled Clinical Trial In Cataract Surgery?’

The judges will draw up an initial shortlist of the five best essays submitted and will then decide on the winning essay. The shortlisted essays and the winning essay will be published in EuroTimes.

The competition is open to ophthalmologists who are members of the ESCRS and aged 40 years or under on 1 January, 2018. The winner of the prize will receive a €1,000 travel bursary to the 36th Congress of the ESCRS in Vienna, Austria, and will be presented with a specially-commissioned trophy during the ESCRS Video Competition Awards ceremony.

The essays will be judged by Thomas Kohnen, chairman, ESCRS Publications Committee; Emanuel Rosen, chief medical editor, EuroTimes; José Güell, former president, ESCRS; Oliver Findl, chairman, ESCRS Young Ophthalmologists Committee; Sean Henahan, editor, EuroTimes; Paul McGinn, editor, EuroTimes; and Robert Henahan, contributing editor, EuroTimes.

The punctuation, syntax and grammar should reflect the high standard of material published in EuroTimes. Entries should be 750 words in length and should be sent to Colin Kerr, EuroTimes Executive Editor, in Microsoft Word document format to: The closing date for entries is Friday 30 March 2018.

So get writing and consider these words from the American physicist, historian and philosopher Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996).

“No language thus restricted to reporting a world fully known in advance can produce mere neutral and objective reports on ‘the given’. Philosophical investigation has not yet provided even a hint of what a language able to do that would be like.”

Previous winners:

2017 Dr Clare Quigley, Ireland
How Does Commercial Interest Affect My Career?
2016 Dr Manish Mahabir, India
Why Should I Publish?
2015 Dr Sidath Liyanage, UK
How Do I Learn Surgery?
2014 Dr Lampros Lamprogiannis, Greece
How Do I See Cataract Surgery In 20 Years?
2013 Dr Nicole Tsim, Hong Kong
Recollections Of My First Intraocular Surgery
2012 Dr Sorcha Ni Dhubhghaill, Ireland
The Trials and Tribulations Of A Young Opthalmologist
2011 Dr Soosan Jacob, India
My Best Teacher
2010 Dr Leigh Spielberg, USA
The Outstanding Memory Of My Residency
2009 Dr Kaladevi Ranganathan, India
My Best Patient, My Worst Patient
2008 Dr Shiu Ting Mak, Hong Kong
Why I Became An Ophthalmologist