Previous Winners

2021

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.

WINNER: Namrata Verghese (Stanford University), “Emergent Homonationalism and the Construction of a Palatable Queer Subject in Post-Section 377 Bollywood Cinema”

RUNNER UP: Nicola Caroline Wheeler (University of Kent), “‘Subverting an Imagined India: The Gothic Power of Ghosts, Echoes and Muddles in E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India”

The judges this year were Ankhi Mukherjee and Caroline Herbert. We would like to thank the judges for their excellent and time-consuming work. The editors of JPW, Anastasia Valassopoulos and Sarah Lawson Welsh, would like to congratulate both the winner and runner up for their excellent contributions, and to thank the judges for their astute and careful readings of all the submissions.

2020

It is with great pleasure that we are able to announce the winners and runners up of this year’s PSA/JPW PG Essay Prize. This year, the competition was particularly strong, showcasing a very high standard of work, resulting in two winners and two runners up.

WINNER: This year’s joint winners are Alexander Bell (University of East Anglia) and Maya Caspari (University of Leeds)

Alexander Bell, ‘Redistributing the Prosodic Sensorium: Zong! and postcolonial aesthetics’
The judges said: “This essay constitutes a highly articulate exploration of conditions of the unspeakable and the voiceless in the context of suppressed acts of colonial violence. … It is not only very timely, but offers new ways of thinking about its topic that others would find stimulating and beneficial to draw on. Finally, it presents the best account of NourbeSe Philip’s poetics (in terms of aesthetic dissensus) that I have encountered.”

Maya Caspari, ‘Moving Archives, Touch and World Literary Melancholy in Han Kang’s The Vegetarian’
The judges said: “This is a highly original piece that situates Han’s The Vegetarian within the context of the complex postcoloniality of Korea. It draws productively on the concept of melancholia to analyse both domestic and national politics and also considers the limitations of world literary theory as a context within which to consider the critical reception of the novel. … this is an impressively ambitious piece.”

RUNNER UP: This year’s joint runners up are Sreya Mallika Datta (University of Leeds) and Sana Riaz (University of York)

Sreya Mallika Datta
, ‘‘We were fishermen’: Reimagining Community in the Postnation in Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen’
The judges said: “This reading of Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen as ‘a postnational reimagination of community’ is highly original, drawing deftly on relevant theories focused around nationalism and the postcolonial. The author offers elegant close readings of the primary text that open out onto wider historical and theoretical matters and builds to a compelling conclusion.”

Sana Riaz, ‘Sa’adat Hasan Manto and the Mad Muselmann’
The judges said: “This is a brilliant essay on the aesthetic and political significance of marginal and peripheral figures and the significance of fragments and body parts in Manto’s work. We gain a profound understanding of ‘the random, the brutal, the excessive, and the absurd dimensions of violence’ in Manto’s work … a profound, superbly executed, richly rewarding reading of a crucial writer who merits this kind of detailed, theoretically informed attention in postcolonial studies.”

The judges this year were Helen Cousins, Ziad Elmarsafy, Michelle Keown, Madhu Krishnan, Lindsey Moore, Pablo Mukherjee, James Procter, Caroline Rooney, and Bill Schwarz. We would like to thank the judges for their excellent and time-consuming work. The editors of JPW, Anastasia Valassopoulos and Sarah Lawson Welsh, would like to congratulate both the winners and runners up for their excellent contributions, and to thank the judges for their astute and careful readings of all the submissions.

2019

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.

WINNER: Bhagya Casaba Somashekar (Merton College, Oxford), ‘“The Reign of Error”: Tropes of Exception in Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel

RUNNER UP: Kamil Lipiński (Adam Mickiewicz University), ‘The strata, narrative and space in Here and Elsewhere

The judges were Rachel Farebrother, Rachael Gilmour, Stephen Morton, Alex Padamsee, and Kirk Sides. We would like to thank the judges for their excellent and time-consuming work. The editors of JPW, Anastasia Valassopoulos and Sarah Lawson Welsh, 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. Congratulations to both Bhagya and Kamil for their excellent achievements.

2018

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.

WINNER: Zain Rashid Mian, “The Reluctant Comparatists: Towards a Reconceptualization of Pakistani Literature”.

The judges said: “This is an excellent essay and makes a highly persuasive scholarly argument about the need for the application of “literary formation” to the study not only of Pakistani literature marketed on the global literary scene, but for other contemporary cosmopolitan fiction which both depends on, and eludes, national identification and affiliation. The case study of Mohsin Hamid’s much feted The Reluctant Fundamentalist to illuminate the essay’s argument is both convincing and coherent. This essay is eloquently and cogently written with definite potential to inspire further avenues of research within postcolonial literary studies.”

RUNNER UP: Annemi Conradie, “Krotoa (Re-)Appropriated: Asserting Authenticity and Belonging through Affiliative Ownership of Colonial Representations”

The judges said: “This carefully crafted study of the appropriation of cultural heritage and issues of custodianship aims to theorise indigenous re-appropriations in post-apartheid Africa, focusing on the case of Krotoa, venerated as a figure of resistance, and referring to a Black existentialism. The interdisciplinary discussion about the right to represent and (re) claim historic images, narratives and images, and the rehearsal of debates over cultural appropriation and affiliative ownership in new South Africa is lucid and accessible. This ambitious article introduces the topic of ownership and reappropriation of cultural heritage, one of growing importance in postcolonial studies, with authority and flair, and is likely to open up to further research.”

The judges this year were Maggie Ann Bowers, Chris Campbell, Peter Morey, Ranka Primorac, Anastasia Valassopoulos, and Amina Yaqin. 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.

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.

WINNER: Mary Jean Chen (Royal Holloway), ‘Spatial and Spiritual Subalternity in Kei Miller’s The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion’

The judges said: “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.”

RUNNER UP: Maryam Fatima (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), ‘Rethinking The Past in Post: Reading Intizar Husain’s Din aur Dastan as a Generic Palimpsest’

The judges said: “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.”

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.

2016

The PSA/JPW are delighted to announce the winner and runner up of the 2016 PSA/JPW PG Essay Prize.

WINNER: Edward Dodson (University of Oxford), ‘The Partial Postcoloniality of Julian Barnes’ Arthur & George

The judges said: “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.”

RUNNER UP: Amanda Ruth Waugh Lagji (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), ‘Marking Time in Heart of Darkness: Waiting and (Post)colonial Temporalities’.

The judges said: “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 we 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 PSA/JPW are delighted to announce the winner and runner up of the 2015 PSA/JPW PG Essay Prize.

WINNER: Annaliese Hoehling (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), ‘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 the essay as possibly the best entry they have ever received since the prize began, noting that it makes a substantial contribution to the field.

There was, for the first time, a two-way tie for the runner up, and so special mention goes to both:

RUNNER UP: Mahruba Tasneem Mowtushi (King’s College London), ‘The “Artful” Body and the Bengali Art Critic: Hemendrakumar Roy in Search of Beauty’

RUNNER UP: Stefanie Rudig (University of Innsbruck), ‘Lady Barker – Writing Colonial New Zealand’

Thank you to the judges and editors for their hard work on this year’s competition. Congratulations again to the winner and runners up. 

2014

The PSA/JPW are delighted to announce the winner and runner up of the 2014 PSA/JPW PG Essay Prize.

 

WINNER: Joy Hayward-Jansen (University of Massachussets, Amherst), 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.

RUNNER UP: Kirsten Zeller (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London), ‘Natural Images: The Depiction of East African Wildlife in Western Documentary Film’
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 standard of the competition was particularly strong this year and the judges would like to thank all those who submitted their work for consideration. Congratulations again to the winner and runner up. 

2013

The PSA/JPW are delighted to announce the winner and runner up of the 2013 PSA/JPW PG Essay Prize.

WINNER: Henghameh Saroukhani (University of Leeds), ‘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.

RUNNER UP: Amanda Waugh (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), ‘Revising the Narrative of Failure: Reconsidering State Failure in Nuruddin Farah’s Knots’ 
The judges noted that they were particularly impressed by this essay’s high standards in writing and research, not least in the essay’s 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 and runner up of the 2012 PSA/JPW PG Essay Prize.

WINNER: Catherine Rashid (University of Cambridge), Secular Time and Muslim Fiction’

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

2011

The PSA/JPW are pleased to announce the winner and runner up of the 2011 PSA/JPW PG Essay Prize.

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’

RUNNER UP: Amanda Waugh (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), ‘Labor That Scars: Colonial and Child Exploitation in Charlotte Yonge’s The Clever Woman of the Family’

2010

The PSA/JPW are pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural PSA/JPW PG Essay Prize.

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): http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17449855.2011.533962)

We thank all those who submitted entries to the competition this year. The field was strong and demonstrated a range of high-quality research emerging in postcolonial studies at postgraduate level. From next year, the Essay Prize will have both a winner and runner up.