Showcase your writing skills

Judging of the 2019 John Henahan Prize has begun

Colin Kerr

Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Josephine Behaegel, winner of the John Henahan Prize in 2018

“Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes
it can be a way back to life.” – Stephen King,
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

As Executive Editor of EuroTimes, one of my favourite projects is organising the John Henahan Prize for young ophthalmologists, which has been running since 2008.

The prize was named in honour of John Henahan, who edited EuroTimes, the official news magazine of the ESCRS, from 1996 to 2001.

The purpose of the competition is 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 11 years ago, ophthalmologists from all over the world have submitted essays in the hope of winning the prize and some have gone on to become regular contributors to EuroTimes.

These include including Drs Soosan Jacob, Leigh Spielberg, Sorcha Ní Dhubhghaill and Clare Quigley.

The topic for this year’s essay, as decided by the ESCRS Publications Committee, was ‘How To Balance Ophthalmology And Family Life’.

We received more than 60 essays, one of the highest number of entries ever recorded since the start of the competition, from 24 countries including Australia, Canada, China, Cyprus, France, Greece, Hong Kong, India and the United Kingdom.

Distinguished winners
As always, the judging panel will have a very difficult task choosing a winner, but whoever wins the prize will have the privilege of being added to the roll call of our distinguished former winners.

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

The winner will receive a €1,000 travel bursary to the 37th Congress of the ESCRS in Paris, France, and will be presented with a specially-commissioned trophy during the ESCRS Video Competition Awards ceremony.

I would like to thank everybody who entered this year’s competition and remind you that even if you do not get shortlisted, there will be another opportunity to enter the 2020 John Henahan Prize.

Colin Kerr is Executive Editor of EuroTimes and Project Manager of the John Henahan Prize