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Each year, the Department of English awards the Graduate Essay Prize for the best work created in a graduate-level English course. Submissions are accepted for two categories: Literature and Literary Studies and Writing and Rhetoric. Winners receive $100 and recognition in our annual end-of-year “kudos” announcement.

Guidelines for submission

All English graduate and PlusOne students are invited to apply. Students may submit work in more than one category.

  • Submit one electronic copy of each essay in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format. Work should be double spaced and use a standard 12-point font.
  • The title should appear on the first page of the submission, but the student’s name should not appear in the work itself. The faculty judges will not know the authors of the submissions.
  • Students are welcome to revise their work in accordance with the instructor’s suggestions before submitting it to the essay contest.
  • A student may submit no more than one work in each category.
  • Submissions are limited to work written for Northeastern University graduate-level ENGL courses in the given calendar year of the contest. 
  • Resubmissions are not permitted.
  • Field and Focus papers and MA theses are not eligible.

The works in each category are judged by a panel of faculty. Anonymity is preserved, and to that end, faculty members do not judge work written for their own classes.

Previous winners

Literature and Literary Studies category: 

SHREYA SANGAI – winner 

“Objectification and Subjectivity of the Kashmiri Pain: Co-suffering with Munnu”  

Written for Professor Hillary Chute’s Fall 2020 course, ENGL 7351 The Graphic Novel

AVERY BLANKENSHIP – honorable mention 

“Visualizing Black Testimony in Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner”  

Written for Professor Hillary Chute’s Fall 2020 course, ENGL 7351 The Graphic Novel 

Writing and Rhetoric category: 

GENNY BARCO-MEDINA – winner 

“Towards Feminist Advocacy: Public Art About Undocumented Immigrants in Familias Separadas”  

Written for Professor Hillary Chute’s Spring 2020 course, ENGL 7358 Feminism and Visual Culture 

Literature and Literary Studies category: 

KENNY ORAVETZ  – winner 

“The Comics Shift: Material Rhetorics of Bookstores and Collaborative Spatial Genre Change” 

Written for Professor Beth Britt’s Spring 2019 course, ENGL 7360 Contemporary Theory and Criticism 

AVERY BLANKENSHIP – runner up 

“Vourgeoisie: Baking One’s Enemies in Titus Andronicus” 

Written for Professor Erika Boeckeler’s Fall 2019 course, ENGL 7282 Material Shakespeare, Agential Shakespeare, Sustainable Shakespeare 

Writing and Rhetoric category:  

RACHEL MOLKO – winner 

“Failed Resistance: Distortions of Feminism in the SCUM Manifesto” 

Written for Professor Beth Britt’s Spring 2019 course, ENGL 7360 Contemporary Theory and Criticism 

CHERICE JONES – runner up 

“Rhetorics of Race in NIH-Funded Research”  

Written for Professor Beth Britt’s Spring 2019 course, ENGL 7360 Contemporary Theory and Criticism

Literature and Literary Studies category: 

JUNIPER JOHNSON – winner
“In the Footnotes of History: Ability and Impairment of Enslaved Bodies in James Grainger’s 
An Essay on the Most Common West-India Disease and Sugar-Cane: A Poem” 

Written for Professor Sari Altschuler’s Fall 2018 course, ENGL 7351 Disability Studies and Literature   

Writing and Rhetoric category:   

ALEXANDER SLOTKIN – winner
“Histories of Punishment and Possibility: Laboratory Writing and the Writing Center” 

Written for Professor Neal Lerner’s Fall 2018 course, ENGL 7395 Writing Center Studies 

Literature and Literary Studies category: 

KYLE ODDIS – winner 

“Tending the Neglected Garden: Re-Membering and Renegotiating Trauma in W.G. Sebald”  

REN PRUITT – runner up 

“The Dead Walk Among Us: Visual Narrative Trauma of World War II”  

Writing and Rhetoric category: 

CARA MESSINA – winner 

“‘SHIP IS CANON’: The Legend of Korra Series Finale (Queer) Uptakes” 

MATTHEW HITCHCOCK – runner up 

“Binding the Familiar: The Writing in the Margins of Family Photography” 

Literature and Literary Studies category: 

WILLIAM BOND – winner 

“The ‘Background of Being’ in Leila and the ‘Trenton Falls’ poems” 

Writing and Rhetoric category: 

CARA MESSINA – winner 

“Spaces of Possibilities: Merging the Fan Fiction Process in Composition Studies” 

Literature and Literary Studies category: 

SARAH PAYNE – winner 

“The Subaltern Speaks: Reading the Whitney Plantation as a Slave Narrative” 

LAURA PROSZAK – honorable mention 

“Sophistic Reproduction, Sophistic Repurposing: Jane Addams’ Imitation of Ancient Practices as a Re-imagined Response to Urban Communities” 

Writing and Rhetoric category: 

HEATHER FALCONER – winner 

“Assessing Writing in Undergraduate Biology Coursework: A Review of the Literature on Practices and Criteria” 

JONATHAN OSBORNE – honorable mention 

“Revising the Narrative: Frederick Douglass’ My Bondage and My Freedom and the Influence of Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave 

For further information, please contact Heather Hardy, Graduate Program & Communications Coordinator (h.hardy@northeastern.edu).

This form is no longer accepting entries. Thank you for your interest.