19th-annual Wonderland Awards

The Wonderland Awards are an annual multidisciplinary competition, open to students from all California universities, which encourages new scholarship and creative work related to Lewis Carroll (1832–1898). The inaugural awards were hosted in 2005 and there are now more than 400 student submissions in the Wonderland Awards Archive. Information about the 2024 winners can be found here.

Wonderland Award Overview

  • 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: The deadline for entries for the next Wonderland Awards is April 1, 2025; winners will be announced at an award reception in late April 2025.

Where to Start

To get ideas for your project 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:

  • View past entries for inspiration: Some prize-winning past entries may be viewed here in a traditional web site format or here and here in immersive 3-D galleries created in spring 2021 with assistance from the USC Libraries Ahmanson Lab. Digital representations of additional entries can be found on the external Tweedledee site.
  • 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, and find articles in the databases. It gives an overview of what is in the collection and how to find materials that have been digitized and posted to the USC Digital Library.
  • 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 Awards 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 17 points, utilizing the following criteria:

  • Artist Statement (3 points): The Artist Statement explains why entrants are competing for the Wonderland Awards, how their work relates to Lewis Carroll, how they were inspired by the Cassady 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 that your submission will become part of the USC Libraries collections and that you grant the USC Libraries a non-exclusive license to publish it in the future. 

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 any questions on submitting a physical object, please contact Tyson Gaskill at gaskill@usc.edu.



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. Lewis Carroll (the pen name for Charles Dodgson) is best known for his Alice books: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass (1871). His others 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 one of the greatest photographic portraitists of the 19th century.

This collection was established in 2000 with a gift of 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 a number of meetings 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 4,000 rare books, pamphlets, letters, and other items related to the work of Lewis Carroll. Included in the Collection are 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 translations into German, French, and Italian, and important bibliographic and biographical works stand side-by-side with signed copies of movie scripts, playbills from 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.