Wonderland Award

Twelfth-Annual Wonderland Award

  • WHAT: Explore, explain, analyze, and interpret the works of Lewis Carroll
  • WHO: All graduate and undergraduate students in all fields of study, currently enrolled in accredited California colleges and universities are eligible to participate
  • AWARD: First prize is $3,000; Second prize is $1,500
  • WHEN: Deadline for entries is Friday, April 1, 2016; winners will be announced at an award reception in Doheny Library on Thursday, April 21, 2016

About the Award

The Wonderland Award is an annual multidisciplinary competition that encourages new scholarship and creative work related to Lewis Carroll (1832—1898) and supported by the Cassady Lewis Carroll collection at USC Libraries Special Collections. The award was established in 2004 with the sponsorship of Linda Cassady, and the first award was given in the spring of 2005. Speaking at that event was Vanessa St. Clair, the great-granddaughter of Alice Liddell Heargraves, Carroll's real life muse for his classic tale Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. There are now over 400 student submissions in the Wonderland Award Archive, and the success of the program prompted USC to open the competition to students from other Southern California colleges and universities.

Where to Start

To get ideas and learn more about the life and work of Lewis Carroll, explore the G. Edward Cassady, M.D., and Margaret Elizabeth Cassady, R.N., Lewis Carroll Collection. Visit the USC Libraries Special Collections in Doheny Library, Room 209, to view rare Carroll-related books, illustrations, and artwork. Here's how...

  • Talk to the curator: Abby Saunders, the Cassady collection curator is available for research consultations and guidance throughout the process. Email her at alsaunde@usc.edu with any questions or to set up a time to meet or chat.
  • Visit the Cassady collection research guide: This handy guide will walk you through how to search the collection, set up a research account (It's super easy!), find Carroll-related resources on the open web, find articles in the databases and search the Wonderland Award archive to see previous submissions. It gives an overview of what is in the collection and how to find materials that have been digitized and are up in the USC Digital Library.
  • Browse the Cassady collection Bibliography: Although our materials are listed in the HOMER catalog at the USC Libraries website, the bibliography is a great resource that lists the collection by genre (ie: translations, artist books, etc.), and it includes images. The bibliography can be downloaded and viewed on the collection research guide.
  • Visit the collection in person: USC Special Collections is open to the public, so feel free to visit us at the Doheny Memorial Library, room 209. It is best to set up a research account beforehand and request materials (see the collection research guide for how to do this) -- however, this is not necessary. You are welcome to drop in and meet with a librarian at the Special Collections Reference Desk for assistance in setting up an account, researching and exploring the collection.

Entry and Judging Criteria

The format for Wonderland Award entries is limited only by the imagination. We accept a broad range of submissions, including scholarly essays, poems, performance pieces, videogames, animation, visual artworks, music, digital compositions, and films.

Prize-winners will be selected from among all eligible entries received by a panel of qualified independent judges based on a numerical point system, for a maximum of 16 points, utilizing the following criteria:

  • Artist Statement (2 points): The Artist Statement explains why entrants are competing for the Wonderland Award, how their work relates to Lewis Carroll, how they were inspired by the G. Edward Cassady, M.D., and Margaret Elizabeth Cassady, R.N., Lewis Carroll Collection, and describe their creative process.
  • Students at institutions other than USC are not required to use USC Libraries‘ collections, though they should indicate in their statement how they used Lewis Carroll materials held in their institutions‘ libraries. In order to ensure impartiality on the part of the judges, the Artist Statement should not mention the student's institution.
  • Quality (4 points): writing style, punctuation, appearance, aesthetic, editorial criteria, etc.
  • Originality (4 points)
  • Carrollian (6 points): how well the submission reflects the spirit and sensibilities of Lewis Carroll, including his thoughts, interests, sense of humor, and whimsy.

By submitting an entry, you agree all award submissions become part of the G. Edward Cassady, M.D. and Margaret Elizabeth Cassady, R.N. Lewis Carroll Collection of the USC Libraries and grant the USC Libraries a non-exclusive license to publish the entries in the future.

Previous Winners

Previous winners include molecular biology graduate student Andrew Woodham, music industry graduate student Veronique Van Pelt, specialized journalism graduate student Brandon Reynolds, critical studies doctoral candidate Ghia Godfree, biomedical engineering major Arvind Iyer, English doctoral candidates Natasha Alvandi and Jonathan Hamrick, undergraduate theatrical design major Lauren Tyler and creative writing major Charles Mallison. You can see many of their entries in our virtual Wonderland exhibition. You may also browse a list of all the previous submissions through our Wonderland Award Archive.

Facebook Group

Visit the USC Libraries Wonderland Award Facebook page for contest updates, images from past Wonderland Award ceremonies, and resources you can use to complete your entry. 

About the Lewis Carroll Collection

The primary purpose of the award is to promote and encourage the use of the G. Edward Cassady, M.D., and Margaret Elizabeth Cassady, R.N., Lewis Carroll Collection, held in Doheny Library at USC.

This Collection was established in 2000 with a gift of over 100 books and ephemera by George Cassady, M.D., and named in honor of his parents. The following year, an endowment was established by Dr. Cassady to expand the Collection and to bring national attention to the high level of interest in Carroll‘s works on the USC Campus. The Cassady Family Endowment for Lewis Carroll Studies at the University of Southern California has hosted an annual meeting of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America and cosponsored with the Huntington Library a symposium on Carroll‘s studies and their influence on modern society.

The Carroll Collection has now grown to contain more than 3,000 rare books, early pamphlets, letters, and other items related to the work of Lewis Carroll. Included in the Collection are early works Carroll inscribed to friends, books from Carroll‘s own library, many copies of Carroll‘s work from Alice‘s library, limited collectors editions, and most works by major illustrators of the Alice stories. First editions of early translations into German, French, and Italian, and important bibliographic and biographical works stand side-by-side with signed copies of early movie scripts, playbills from early stage adaptations, Victorian-era playing cards, and pop-up books. More recently, comic books, graphic novels, manga editions, literary parodies, computer games, movies, and original art work related to Carroll and his Alice books have joined the Collection.

About Lewis Carroll

Best known for his Alice books, Alice‘s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass (1871), Dodgson'€™s published works concern the fields of mathematics, logic, poetry, principles of parliamentary representation, and university administration, to mention but a few. Additionally, Dodgson is renowned as the greatest photographer of children during an era when albumen plates were handmade on site and exposures commonly required a minute or more.

Judges for Wonderland XII (*TBD)

Linda Cassady, Wonderland Award and Cassady collection donor

It is through the generous donations of Linda Cassady and her husband Dr. George Cassady that the Wonderland Award is made possible.  Their collecting efforts continue to make the Cassady Lewis Carroll collection what it is today, a research destination for all things Carrollian. Linda Cassady serves as a judge each year, and brings her passion for student work, knowledge of Lewis Carroll and eye as a collector of printed works and art to the judging table.

*The 2016 judges will be announced during the 2015-2016 academic year. Join our facebook group to get notified. Past judges have included published writers, screenwriters, producers, artists, faculty, curators, collectors, animators and Carrollian scholars.

How to Submit Your Entry

All students must fill out the online application form and attach their artist statement using the link below. In order to ensure complete fairness during the judging process, we ask that students submit their entries without identifying information (name, school, etc.) on the project itself.

When possible, the electronic files should be attached to the online form. These will be used for the potential publication of submissions later by USC. The student submission is judged on quality and presentation so the student may find it beneficial to provide a hard copy of any print-based or art submission.


For all entries that need to be submitted in person (artwork or other types of three-dimensional objects), please contact:

Abby Saunders
University of Southern California
Doheny Memorial Library, Room 226
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0189

(213) 740-3672

Participating Institutions

Students from the following universities and educational institutions are invited to submit entries for the USC Libraries Wonderland Award:

  • Alliant International University Library
  • American Film Institute
  • Antioch University
  • Art Center College of Design
  • Azusa Pacific University
  • Biola University
  • Cal Poly Ponoma
  • California Baptist University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • California Institute of the Arts
  • Chapman University
  • Claremont School of Theology
  • Concordia University
  • CSU Dominguez Hills
  • CSU Fullerton
  • CSU Long Beach
  • CSU Los Angeles
  • CSU Northridge
  • CSU San Bernardino
  • Fielding Graduate University
  • Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Hebrew Union College
  • Hope International University
  • La Sierra University
  • Loma Linda University
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • The Master's College
  • Mount St. Mary's College
  • National University
  • Occidental College
  • Otis College of Art and Design
  • Pacific Oaks College
  • Pepperdine University
  • Point Loma Nazarene University
  • San Diego State University
  • Southwestern Law School
  • Thomas Jefferson School of Law
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, Riverside
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • University of La Verne
  • University of Redlands
  • University of San Diego
  • University of San Diego Libraries
  • University of Southern California
  • Vanguard University of Southern California
  • Western State University College of Law
  • Western University of Health Sciences
  • Westminster Seminary California
  • Whittier College
  • Woodbury University

Additional Questions

For all questions regarding the competition, contact Abby Saunders at (213) 740-3672 or alsaunde@usc.edu.