Katharine Grainger


Have a go at producing a poem, drawing, painting, song or any other Koestler artform using the word ‘comfort’ as a theme. This year’s theme was chosen by Koestler Facebook and Twitter followers.


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

Koester Awards Winners 2015 Announced

This year we received over 8,500 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).


  • January
  • April
  • June & July
  • August
  • Sept
  • October
  • November
  • December
Accepting Entries for 2016 Awards
All 2015 entries being returned, except a selection kept for further exhibition or sale until May 2016.
15 April 2016 award entry deadline
June & July:
Awards judging takes place
UK Awards published on our website at end of August
UK exhibition at Southbank Centre opens
UK exhibition at Southbank Centre continues
Awards cheques and certificates sent out at end of October
End of December
UK exhibition at Southbank Centre ends at end of November
Sales money sent out
Start returning artwork - starting with collections at Koestler Arts Centre


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


For more information please view the awards guidance


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

Entries are judged by over 100 experts from different fields. 2015 judges included Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller; Poet Laureatte Carol Ann Duffy; representatives from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Council, the National Theatre and the British Film Institute; celebrity hairstylist Louise Galvin; and musicians Speech Debelle and Hot Chip.


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 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 2015 Awards year we plan to hold exhibitions in Scotland (with Tramway in Glasgow) and the North East (with BALTIC and Gateshead Library).

Wales Millennium Centre
Wales Millennium Centre