International Audio Arts Festival

April 4th-7th 2019

Kilfinane, Co. Limerick, Ireland



The HearSay Prize 2021  

What is being looked for?

The HearSay Prize celebrates and encourages the spirit of experiment and adventure in audio. For 2021 we have introducted 8 new special category awards. HEARD x 2, FEARLESS x 2,  ZEST, PROVOKE, HUMAN, & ART as well as the Overall, GanBearla and Rising Awards.


Each entry should be a creative piece of composed, compiled or crafted audio.


We are encouraging makers of audio in any genre (sound art to radio drama, documentary to field recording, film sound to sound poetry) to enter their work. All audio formats are welcome regardless of whether dramatic, documentary, composed, scripted, artistic (or indeed none or all of these).  Field recordings, interviews, drama, scripts, stories, found sounds, original music, actuality - feel free to use every sound at your disposal -  make every moment count.

One voice, many voices, no voice are all good. Layered or simple, heavily processed or natural, we’re very open.  We will be judging entries on their use of sound, innovation, engaging the listener. Be inventive, be engaging, surprise us!


If entering an piece created specifically for HearSay Prize  then you should enter Stream 1 CREATE. Your entry should be a standalone piece, which has not been broadcast or otherwise widely heard in public before. It should be  between 2 minutes (2.00) and 7 minutes (7.00) in length. The audio piece should be self-contained, not an extract from a longer work and it should  take the listener on an aural adventure.


If you are entering a piece which has already had a life before this competition then you should enter it in Stream 2 CELEBRATE. Your entry should be a standalone piece. It should be between 2 minutes (2.00)  and 7 minutes (7.00) in duration. It may have been broadcast in its entirety prevously or it may also be a re-worked, extracted or re-imagined use of a work you created previously.


Who runs the HearSay Prize?

The HearSay Prize is run in collaboration with the the HearSay International Audio Festival which takes place in  the mountain village of Kilfinane, Co. Limerick Ireland. The HearSay Festival  is run on a not-for-profit basis.


Who can enter the HearSay Prize?

The HearSay Prize  is open to everyone from anywhere in the world - from sound artists, to radio producers, theatre sound designers to musicians, from experienced professionals to passionate enthusiast. There is a range of awards reflecting this.


Do you accept entries that are in languages other than English?

Yes we do. We welcome entries in any language or indeed combination of languages.  

In 2015 we  introduced two awards specifically designed to reward the best entries  in languages other then English. In 2019 the overall winner for CREATE was in German

You may feel that it is important that judges have a complete understanding of the meaning of the language used. in your piece. If so then you have the option of providing an English Language transcript as an “Additional Document” to accompany your entry.    


How much does it cost to enter?

General entry costs 45 Euro for each entry that you submit.This has been reduced from 65 euro to recognise the financial challenges caused by Covid to many in our community.

Early bird entry is available this year for 29 euro (down from 45 Euro last time) to help accessibility,

Entry for those under the age of 21 and/or in full time education costs €15 for each entry submitted.

IMPORTANT NOTE  to get the Earlybird OR the Student rate you must enter by 4th January 2021. 


Is there a limit to the number of entries I can submit?

There is NO LIMIT to the number of entries that an individual or creative team can submit. Each separate entry must be submitted as a self contained entry (i.e not linked to other entries).  Each entry has its own entry fee payable.  


What must my entry include?

  • One audio file per entry of the correct duration for the stream entered in 16-bit 44.1K WAV format.

  • Contact Details

  • Brief biography of the producer(s)/creator(s) (200 Words maximum)

  • Entry Synopsis/Description (150 words maximum)

  • Credits

  • Entry Fee


What awards is my entry eligible for ?

Every piece entered will automatically be eligible for the following awards

  • The Gold Award in their Stream


ALL Entries are AUTOMATICALLY considered for ALL the special category awards relevant to their stream - (except the RISING Award for which only Students or those Under 21 entering the CREATE stream will be automatically entered.)


Entrants of pieces in a language other than English are eligible for all the above but also for two further awards (one for each stream Create and Celebrate) which recognise the best entry in an entry other than english


Entries from persons who indicate on their entry submission that they have not reached their 21st Birthday  by 1st January 2021 OR who of any age and in full-time education on 21st January 2021 will be automatically entered for the HearSay Rising Award regardless of whether they avilabled of the the Student Entry Rate


Can I win more than one Award with my entry?

Yes, it is possible to win multiple awards with one entry. For example an entrant could win CREATE Gold overall award,  the CREATE Best Entry in a language other than English, and the FEARLESS Award.


What if I am under the age of 18 - Can I enter?

Yes – we very much welcome creative audio from emerging talent but please review the guidelines terms and conditions prior to submission.  


I will have graduated from full time education by April 2021 when the award ceremony is  but I’m in full time education now – can I pay the student entry fee? 

Yes .  You must have been in full-time education on 21st January 2021 . On the entry form, you are asked to give details of the School/College and confirmation of attendance may be requested from you by the HearSay organisers. (Where people collaborate on a piece, ALL persons in the creative team must be meet either the full-time or under the age of 21 criteria to enter as “student” and be eligible for the RISING award.)

IMPORTANT NOTE  to get the Earlybird OR the Student rate you must enter by 4th January 2021. After that date you can still enter as a student and be considered for the RISING AWARD but will pay the full fee


I’m 20 years old but not in full-time education – can I pay the student entry fee? Am I eligible for the student award?

Yes  in both cases so long as your 21st birthday is not until after 1st January 2021 - Evidence of your age may be requested from you by the HearSay organisers.

Where people collaborate on a piece, ALL persons in the creative team must be meet either the full-time or under the age of 21 criteria to enter as “student” and be eligible for the student award.


How does judging work?

Judging will be carried BLIND (no names of producerw will be shared with the Jury) after the closing date,

The entries for the HearSay Awards will be judged by a collection of award winning audio creators from a rich variety of audio disciplines and from around the world. Overall Entries will be judged on their use of sound, innovation, how they engage or surprise the listener. Creativity, writing, composition, and inventiveness may all play a part. The specific criteria for each specific award will also be applied. Given the range of formats, styles, and subject matter that are possible, the judges will be flexible and open in their application of the criteria and the selection of winners. All decisions are final. The Jury reserve the right not to issue specific category awards if there is not an obvious winner.


Can my piece contain copyright material that is not my own or material which is under a Creative Commons licence agreement?

You should be the copyright owner of all material contained within the piece or have cleared all necessary rights for use.

The use of creative commons material is permitted where the Creative Commons licence allows it. All Creative Commons licenses require at least attribution, which means you must give credit to the original author. A Credits section on the entry form can be used for this purpose. Make sure you check the Creative Commons conditions as some sounds may be marked for example as “No-Derivatives” term which means that you can't create any work that is based on or incorporates the original work. (see also Guidelines, Terms & Conditions).

Needless to say, the purpose of the HearSay Audio Prize is to create new audio work and celebrate existing audio work and all entries should be substantially and significantly your own.  


What rights do I grant HearSay.

The producer(s) of each audio piece submitted will be asked, when making their entry to grant HearSay with broadcast, internet and live playout rights to present entries in their complete form to inspire others in the context of the HEarSay Festival and the HearSay Price. Full copyright in the piece will remain with the creator(s) and you may exploit the piece made for the prize on a commercial subsequently.


Can my piece have been broadcast/podcast/performed etc prior to entry elsewhere?

If you are entering Stream1 - CREATE, then your piece should not have been broadcast, or otherwise been widely publicly heard, nor should it be extracted from another longer piece. It should not be shared publicly until after the award ceremony.


If you are entering Stream2 CELEBRATE, then your piece must have been broadcast, podcast, exhibited, or otherwise widely publicly heard. prior to January 1st  2021.


I'm entering Stream 1 CREATE, what if there is a wonderful phrase or sounds from a different audio work that I wish to incorporate in my piece?

Feel free to incorporate it into your new creative audio work as long as you have the right to use the recording and it doesn’t pose any problems with regard to the use of the piece in HearSay context. We are not asking people to record every sound used in a piece explicitly for their HearSay entry (though you are more than welcome to do so) , but we are asking entrants to Stream 1 to create something specific for HearSay not simply recut or reworked slightly.


Can I collaborate with others to create my piece?

Definitely yes. The spirit of HearSay is about inspiring each other.

There is a section on the entry form for credits and here you can put in the names of the whole team and the award will be credited to team members. If you win, we will be in contact with you to go through this in more details. Where there is a travel element to the award such as a flight then it will be issued for one member of the team, but we will do our best to facilitate the whole team re accommodation and festival participation. Even if you win more than one award, only one flight will be allocated to you.


What if I work with musicians?

Again collaboration is very much welcomed. If you are not a musician, then engaging with musicians to work alongside or respond to your piece can be very rewarding for everyone involved and push the final audio in sometimes surprising directions.  It goes hopefully without say that you should only include music which you have the right to include and use in a HearSay Award context.


I’m a musician  myself can I submit a piece of my work?

There’s very little not allowed  – It’s not a song contest so songs or straight up musical tracks are highly unlikely to succeed but the use of music or song is not excluded. We would love to hear works from Audio composers who are experimenting with and exploring the creative/artistic possibilities of sound.


When will winners be announced?

An shortlist announcment will be made in Janauary 2019 - soon after the good news will be given to the award  winners to let them plan their journey.


I’ve another question – where can I ask it?

Drop us an email to [email protected] or DM us on twitter at @hearsayfestival or even write to us at HearSay Audio Festival, Lower Main St, Kilfinane, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick, Ireland.


We will update these FAQ’s with new questions and answers as they are needed.



Please also see the HearSay Prize Guidelines Terms & Conditions


Best of luck!

We're really looking forward to hearing your entries. If you have a question that is not answered  here please do contact us via [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Our  Jury - Your work

From commissioning editors, to sound artists, writers to feature makers, some of the finest ears in creative audio from around the world will be listening to your entries


You can find out all the details on our Judges' page.

Closing Date: 

EARLYBIRD 4th January 2021

FINAL 21st January 2021


Shortlisted Creators Notified  

14th April 2021


Winners & Prize Ceremony

14th May 2021


Judges: Find our 2019 Jury here. 

(The 2021 Jury is revealed in May


13 Awards in total


2 Overall Awards

HearSay CREATE Gold Award

(Overall winner - for NEW audio work)


HearSay CELEBRATE Gold Award

(Overall winner - for EXISTING work)


2 Awards for Work in a

Language other than English

HearSay Create Ganbearla Award

HearSay Celebrate Ganbearla Award


1 Award to recognise emerging audio makers (Full-Time Student and/or under age of 21) 

HearSay Rising Award


8 Special Category Awards