Katharine Grainger


Chosen by Olympic rowing champion Katherine Grainger CBE, who will also judge the category. Find out more about the different Koestler Award categories


From as little as £5 a month for a Commended Award, to our top Scholarship Award which offers talented offender artists 10 mentoring sessions with a professional artist, naming an Award can be one of the most direct and satisfying ways to get involved with the Koestler Trust.
More about naming an award

Name an Award

Koestler Awards 2014

Koestler Awards 2014 UK Results

This year we received a record-breaking number of entries to the Koestler Awards – 8,789 pieces of writing, music, film, fine art and design, with some Under 18s Fast Feedback entries still being received! Each entrant will receive a Participation Certificate in recognition of their hard-work and motivation. We also aim to give 80% of entrants written feedback on their work. Congratulations to all entrants on their achievement!

Award-winners are listed here, anonymously, by establishment (pdf).


  • Jan
  • Feb
  • April
  • May
  • June & July
  • August
  • Sept
  • October
  • Nov
  • December
  • March
Accepting Entries for 2014 Awards
All 2013 entries returned, except a selection kept for further exhibition or sale until Sept 2014
End of February 2014
The establishment with the most entries to reach us by this date will receive £300 for arts resources
14th April award entry deadline
Snail Porridge
9 May – 15 June 2014 | Curated by Bob and Roberta Smith
Castlefield Gallery, Manchester

Results published on the website at the end of August

Snail Porridge
9 May – 15 June 2014 | Curated by Bob and Roberta Smith
Castlefield Gallery, Manchester

End of August
UK awards published on our website
UK exhibition at Southbank Centre
All certificates and prizes sent out end of October
UK exhibition at Southbank Centre
UK exhibition at Southbank Centre
End of December
Sales money sent out
End of March 2015
All entries returned, except a selection kept for further exhibition or sale until Sep 2015


The Koestler Trust has been running the awards programme for offenders, secure patients and detainees for over 50 years.

The aims of the awards include:

  • A positive goal towards which inmates can strive.
  • A means of acquiring and practising new skills, and often discovering unrecognised talent.
  • An outlet for creative energies and emotions.
  • Recognition of achievements.
  • Encouragement to continue in the arts and education.
Coming Up For Air

Coming Up For Air
HMP Whitemoor, Commended Award, Oil or Acrylic

Displays Of Work Throughout The Year

Some work is selected to be shown in displays in a wide range of public spaces including offices, restaurants and prison visit halls.

Britannia Riots
Britannia Riots
HM Prison Frankland


The Awards offer a great chance for entrants to get their creative work seen or heard, get feedback, sell work, and to share in over £30,000 of prizes.

Find out how to enter


The awards cover 61 diverse artforms including, beauty, fiction, oil or acrylic, singer-songwriter, magazine journalism and drama.
View the list


Every entrant receives a participation certificate and recognition for their work. We give over 1,500 awards a year, total prize money worth over £30,000, with most winners receiving a cash prize.
Find out more about the prizes

Prestigious JUDGES

This year's high profile judges also include Turner-prize winning artists Grayson Perry and Jeremy Deller; the National Theatre; the Victoria & Albert Museum; artist Sarah Lucas; celebrity hair stylist Louise Galvin; poet and author John Siddique; artist and activist Htein Lin and Olympic champion Katherine Grainger; amongst lots of other great artists and art professionals.
More on the Judges


We have selected some images that we hope will be an inspiration and a celebration of some of the talented artists who have have submitted their work for a Koestler Award in the past.
View the selection

Window Seat
Window Seat
Ashworth Hospital, Gold Award, Furniture

Get your artwork out there!

Major exhibition at the Southbank Centre in London
We show a selection of the entries to the public at our annual UK exhibition, which attracts around 20,000 visitors. This takes place in autumn 2014 at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre - one of the most famous arts venues in the world. As well as work exhibited on the gallery walls, the UK exhibition will include readings, performances, film screenings and a special event for entrants' families.
More on the Exhibitions

The Strength and Vulnerability Bunker 2013

Regional and National Exhibitions

As well as the UK exhibition at Southbank Centre the Koestler Trust holds shows of local artwork in different areas each year. This gives work in those areas an extra chance to be seen, win awards and sell. In the 2014 Awards year we plan to hold exhibitions in Scotland (with Tramway in Glasgow), the West Midlands (with mac, Birmingham) and Wales (with Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff).

Wales Millennium Centre
Wales Millennium Centre