Book History, a yearly scholarly journal on the history of printing and publishing, gives away an annual essay award to graduate students writing about books. It’s composed of a $400 cash prize and publication in the journal.
It doesn’t seem to require that the essay be written for class credit, or suggest a word limit or range. So, if you don’t have any appropriate pieces lying around, you can start writing now to meet that end-of-summer deadline. You’ll want to follow the rather loose guidelines for submission to the journal, at the bottom of this page:
“Authors should send to the appropriate editor one copy of their work – either in hard copy or in electronic form as a Microsoft Word file, or both – which should be typed double spaced (including notes and citations) and documented in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style. The manuscript may be submitted as an email attachment, after advance notice to the editor. The title page should include the author’s name, telephone number, postal address, and E-mail address. Contributors are welcome to submit illustrations and graphs with their texts. Due to the journal’s book-length format, essays of unusual length are welcome. Submissions acceptable to the editors will be double reviewed by outside experts in the field.”