Previous Winners

2017

It is with great pleasure that we are able to announce the winner and runner-up of this year’s PSA/JPW PG Essay Prize.

The standard of the competition was extremely high this year. Once again, we would like to thank the judges for their excellent and time-consuming work.

The editors of JPW, Janet Wilson and Lucienne Loh, would like to congratulate both the winner and the runner up for their excellent contributions, and to thank the judges for their astute and careful readings of all the submissions.

This year’s winner is Mary Jean Chen, Royal Holloway, for her essay ‘Spatial and Spiritual Subalternity in Kei Miller’s The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion’

This is a strong and well researched piece. There is a skilful application of Glissant’s ideas of opacity and the argument is alert to the genealogies of colonialism in ways which give credibility to the well presented critique of hybridity. This works very well in the Caribbean context. The move to identify linguistically a spatialised subalternity is adequately negotiated via the readings of the poems. There is an original point of view here and the writing is deft and measured. This scholarly, committed piece deserves the grade it has been given.

This year’s runner up is Maryam Fatima, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for her essay ‘Rethinking The Past in Post: Reading Intizar Husain’s Din aur Dastan as a Generic Palimpsest’

This essay’s ambition to argue for the formal narrative structures which resist colonialism’s imposition of literary genre formations through close engagement with Din aur Dastan by the Pakistani writer Intizar Husain is theoretically timely. By drawing on a range of original scholarly material astutely applied to Husain’s novel, the author presents the possibility of what is termed a “generic palimpsest” which not only pertains to the accretion of a host of South Asian literary traditions in the text but which also challenges the political and geographical faultlines created through colonial conquest and division of the sub-continent.

Congratulations to both Mary Jean and Maryam Fatima for their excellent achievements.

2016

This year’s winner is Edward Dodson, University of Oxford, for his essay ‘The Partial Postcoloniality of Julian Barnes’ Arthur & George’. 

This essay’s confident, cogent and persuasive reading of both the structure and self-conscious style in Julian Barnes’ Arthur & George underpins a thoughtful argument about the novel’s ambivalent, elusive postcolonial stance. Through original research encompassing the oeuvre of the highly celebrated English writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the essay offers an incisive critique of Barnes’ own nebulous attitudes to the colonial discourses which once propagated constructions of Englishness and English masculinity across the empire. The essay’s scholarship and contribution to the widening field of postimperial analysis of contemporary British fiction is highly laudable.

The runner-up is Amanda Ruth Waugh Lagji, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for her essay ‘Marking Time in Heart of Darkness: Waiting and (Post)colonial Temporalities’.

This article makes an original contribution to postcolonial critique in introducing the concept of waiting as both a passive and potentially active state, and in the reading of Heart of Darkness, ably associates this with a strategy of  anticolonial  resistance, as a ‘refusal to wait’. The argument presents a range of historical and semantic contexts with fluency and intellectual sophistication, and the textual analysis of Heart of Darkness is astute.

The standard of the competition was extremely high this year, with a record number of  18 entries. The judges this year were Claire Chambers, Lucy Evans, Sam Coombes, Gillian Roberts, Ananya Jahanara Kabir and Helen Cousins and I would like to thank the judges for their excellent and time-consuming work.

The editors of JPW, Janet Wilson and Lucienne Loh, would like to congratulate both the winner and the runner up for their excellent contributions, and to thank the judges for their astute and careful readings of all the submissions.

2015

The winner of this year’s PSA/JPW Postgraduate Essay Prize is Annaliese Hoehling (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) for her essay ‘The Productive “Marvelous Real”: Alejo Carpentier’s En-Folding of Revolution in The Kingdom of This World’.

The editors of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing have hailed it as possibly the best entry they have ever received since the prize began, making a substantial contribution to the field.

There was, for the first time, a tie for runner-up:
Mahruba Tasneem Mowtushi (King’s College London) with the essay ‘The “Artful” Body and the Bengali Art Critic: Hemendrakumar Roy in Search of Beauty’ and Stefanie Rudig (University of Innsbruck), for her essay ‘Lady Barker – Writing Colonial New Zealand’.

2014

The winner of the 2014 Postcolonial Studies Association Postgraduate Essay Prize is Joy Hayward-Jansen, from the University of Massachussets Amherst (USA), for her essay ‘Queering the Plaasroman: Homoeroticism in Marlene Van Niekerk’s Agaat’. The article has been commended by the judges and by the editors of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing for its challenging and exciting exploration of domestic space and queerness in Van Niekerk’s novel. The essay transfers with success a Victorian examination of sexuality to the realm of the postcolonial, pushing the boundaries of our field.
The runner-up to the Prize is Kirsten Zeller, from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (UK) for the essay ‘Natural Images: The Depiction of East African Wildlife in Western Documentary Film’, which deserves special mention. The Prize’s judges and the editors of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing praise the essay’s interrogation of the disparity between Western representations of animals and humans and the reality of their existence in Africa.

The winner of the 2014 Postcolonial Studies Association Postgraduate Essay Prize is Joy Hayward-Jansen, from the University of Massachussets Amherst (USA), for her essay ‘Queering the Plaasroman: Homoeroticism in Marlene Van Niekerk’s Agaat’. The article has been commended by the judges and by the editors of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing for its challenging and exciting exploration of domestic space and queerness in Van Niekerk’s novel. The essay transfers with success a Victorian examination of sexuality to the realm of the postcolonial, pushing the boundaries of our field.

The runner-up to the Prize is Kirsten Zeller, from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (UK) for the essay ‘Natural Images: The Depiction of East African Wildlife in Western Documentary Film’, which deserves special mention. The Prize’s judges and the editors of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing praise the essay’s interrogation of the disparity between Western representations of animals and humans and the reality of their existence in Africa.

2013

We are delighted to announced that the 2013 Postcolonial Studies Association / Journal of Postcolonial Writing postgraduate essay prize has been awarded to Henghameh Saroukhani (University of Leeds) for her essay  ‘Penguinizing Dub: Paratextual Frames for Transnational Protest in Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Mi Revalueshanary Fren’. The judges considered the essay to offer an unexpected and significant reading of Johnson’s work, and that its attention to issues of literary economy allowed for a welcome and timely contribution to the discussion of performance poetry. Ms Saroukhani will receive the prize of £250, as well as a year’s complimentary membership of the PSA. Her essay will also be considered for publication in a future issue of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing.

The judges would also like to make special mention of the essay ‘Revising the Narrative of Failure: Reconsidering State Failure in Nuruddin Farah’s Knots’ by Amanda Waugh (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) which also particularly impressed, not least in its eloquent blending of political and literary theory to address issues of crucial importance to contemporary postcolonial literary studies.

The standard of work submitted to the competition was again of a particularly high standard this year and is testament to the vitality of the work being completed by scholars at the early stages of their engagement with postcolonial studies. The Postcolonial Studies Association and Journal of Postcolonial Writing are proud to be associated with such vital scholarship.

2012

The PSA/JPW are pleased to announce the winner of the 2012 essay prize. Submissions were of a very high quality, and congratulations are due to the winner, Catherine Rashid (University of Cambridge), for her essay “Secular Time and Muslim Fiction“.

A special mention goes to Ashley Nadeau (University of Armherst, Masachusetts) for “A Woman’s “Horror”: Gender and Position in the British Empires of Heart of Darkness, The Voyage Out, and Mrs. Dalloway“.

2011

Winner

CHARLOTTA SALMI, Linacre College, University of Oxford:

“Reflections on a National Cartography: the Freedom to Roam and the Right to Imagine in Raja Shehadeh’s Travel Writing”

Special Mention

AMANDA WAUGH, University of Massachusetts, Amherst:

“Labor That Scars: Colonial and Child Exploitation in Charlotte Yonge’s The Clever Woman of the Family”

2010

Winner

JOSHUA MCNAMARA, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London:

“Against ‘Third Cinema’: The Non-revolutionary Revolution of Ian Gabriel’s Forgiveness”

(published in JPW 47.1 (2011): seehttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17449855.2011.533962 )