Student Awards Essay

Graduate Student Essay Award

NeMLA awards an annual prize to the best graduate student paper presented at any of the sessions of the previous three conventions.

  • Each caucus prize offers a $100 cash award. Prize-winning essays will automatically be considered for publication by Modern Language Studies; all essays are subject to MLS’s double-blind review. And the prize includes mentorship to further improve this essay before submission to MLS
  • Email Graduate Student Essay Award submissions to with “NeMLA Graduate Student Essay Award Submission” in the subject.

Application Deadline: January 15th

Criteria for The Graduate Student Caucus Essay Award

Applications must be sent to with two PDF attachments:

1. Cover sheet with applicant’s name, address, and academic affiliation

2. Revised essay with no identifying information included, which meets the submission criteria below.

Submitted essays must:

  • be between 7,000 and 9,000 words (MLS has a 10,000-word limit, notes and works cited included) 
  • br prepared anonymously (DO NOT include author's name anywhere on the paper itself)
  • use MLA format and citation style

Submissions not following this guidelines will not be reviewed.

Learn More About the Graduate Student Caucus

Learn More About Past Graduate Student Essay Award Winners

The Alan Nadel Award for the Best Graduate Student Essay

All graduate students who present papers at the ISSN Annual Conference are invited to compete for the prize for the best graduate-student paper of the conference. The winner will receive a copy of a Perkins Prize-winning book of his or her choice and will be invited to expand the winning paper and submit it for consideration by Narrative. The Award is named in honor of Alan Nadel, the William T. Bryan Chair of American Literature and Culture at the University of Kentucky.

The papers given in Lexington are to be judged by Tara MacDonald and Per Krogh Hansen.

The latest call for nominations can be found at our blog:

Call for Nominations: The Alan Nadel Award for the Best Graduate Student Paper

Current Prize Winner


Ivan Delazari, Hong Kong Baptist University, “Diegetic Music in Narrative Fiction: Who is Listening, and What is Heard?”

Past Prize Winners


Bridget Donnelly, University of North Carolina, "'Anything could have happened': Unplotting Historical Contingency in Contemporary Hybrid Detective Novels"


Matthew Phillips, Rutgers University, "Thackeray, Character Types, and Victorian Realism"


Nathan Shank, University of Kentucky, "Empathy as Irony in Cognitive Narrative Studies"


Elizabeth Alsop, CUNY Grad Center, "Consensual Speaking in The Ambassadors"


Hannah Courtney, University of New South Wales (Australia): “The Temporality of Consciousness: Thought Representation and the Slowed Scene in Ian McEwan’s Fiction”

Honorable Mention: Jeanne-Marie Jackson, Yale University: “Retreating Reality: Chekhov’s South African Afterlives”


Lasse Gammelgaard, "Lyric and Narrative in Tennyson’s Maud”


Adam Grener (Cornell University), "Dickensian Coincidence and the Textual Logic of Serial Production"


Rachel Hertz Cobb (University of Texas), "'Not All We See Is Worth Hoarding': Minutes, Hours, and Days in George Meredith’s The Egoist"

Julianne Werlin, "Sidney’s Narrator and the Limits of the Arcadia World"


Matthew Garrett (Stanford University), "Early U.S. Novels: Episodic Structure and the Problem of Social Cohesion"


Sarah Copland (University of Toronto), "The Seeing As Trope in Chiang Yee's Silent Traveller Narratives"

Honorable Mentions

Elizabeth F. Evans (University of Wisconsin-Madison), "Maps and Tours: The Spatial Form of Woolf's The Years"

Heather Morton (University of Virginia), "Can You Forgive Him? Alice and the Man who Plotted Her"


Jesse Rosenthal, "Pip's Choices: Autonomy, Ethics, and Narrative Desire"

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