John Edward Kerry Prize

In honour of John Edward Kerry (1924-2008), the Malone Society offers an annual prize of 30 volumes to a deserving graduate student.

The recipient for 2010 was Matthew Kubus, PhD student at the Shakespeare Institute.

The competition for 2011 is now closed, and the winners will be announced very soon! Also, check back for details about the 2012 competition.



John left school at 16 to work in a London bank. He passed his bankers exams easily, but much more importantly for his career he became fascinated by the theatre, going to every production of note on at that time in London.

Trained as a radio mechanic when he joined up in 1942, he served with the Fleet Air Arm in India. On demob he decided on an academic career and embarked on an honours degree at King’s College where he got a 1 st in 1950, one of only three at King’s that year to do so in English.

He couldn’t afford to accept the Inglis studentship King’s offered him (value £85 – 100 in exchange for 3 or 4 hours tutoring each week) but went on to teach in London grammar schools, eventually as Head of English and Deputy Head, with a special interest in drama productions. Taking a sideways step in 1966 he became a BBC producer, School Broadcasting (Radio) and had the chance of working closely with contemporary writers such as Ray Jenkins, Norman MacCaig, Maureen Duffy and Ted Hughes, whose verse play “Orpheus” won the prestigious international Japan prize as the best radio or TV broadcast for schools in 1970.

In 1972 John was appointed by Sir John Wolfenden to set up for the first time Education Services at the British Museum. Among other things he inaugurated films and slide shows as a regular feature within the public lecture programmes, and developed publications for teachers to make better use of the galleries on study visits, usually within the 16-19 age group.

Another sideways step led to his appointment as Education Officer for the Trident Trust, bringing together the resources of industry, LEAs and voluntary organisations to help teachers to prepare 15-19 year olds for adult life, particularly in what is now known as the Gap Year.

In his retirement he gave his time generously to CRUSE bereavement care, the local Talking Newspaper for the Blind and young people with learning difficulties. A much loved friend, father and grandfather, he died in 2008 aged 84.

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