Avie Bennett Prize in Canadian Literature

A prize of $650 plus a selection of books from The New Canadian Library is awarded annually for the best essay written by an undergraduate student registered in a Canadian Literature course at the Constituent University. Every year instructors of Canadian literature courses will be invited to recommend the best essay submitted for credit within the current academic year.

About Avie Bennett >>

Warmest congratulations to Annika Thornton (Faculty of Arts and Humanities) who has been awarded the 2024 Avie Bennett Prize in Canadian Literature for their essay, “Roots and the Rhizome: Conceptualizing Multicultural Identity in Fred Wah’s Diamond Grill”, written for Professor Pennee’s English 3572F: Canadian Literature and Multiculturalism.

This elegantly written essay offers a clearly conceptualized and carefully researched reading that accounts for the ways relationships to race and ethnicity in Wah’s biotext are presented as neither “stable throughout one’s life [n]or uniform between individuals.” Guided by the judicious use of existing criticism on Wah and the theoretical work of Deleuze and Guattari, Annika’s essay thoughtfully explores how in Diamond Grill memories and knowledge of the past emerge without conventional organizing principles such as linear temporality, and combine with complex shifting forces of thought, history, and embodied experience to construct a multidirectional, mobile rewriting of multicultural identity.

Thank you to Professor Manina Jones who adjudicated the award this year.

Contest Rules

  1. Entries for Fall/Winter 2023-24 must be submitted by the instructor by Monday, April 15, 2024.
  2. Students must be registered on Main campus.
  3. Submissions cannot be hitherto published or won an award in any other competition.
  4. Eligible essays should receive a mark of at least 85%.
  5. Entries must be submitted from the instructor by email to uenglish@uwo.ca with the mark and instructor’s comments included.
  6. The winner will be notified by email by April/May.
  7. The results will be posted on the Department of English and Writing Studies website and social media channels.




Year Recipient Title Course Adjudicator(s)
2023 Samantha Ellis "Eligibly Legible: The Language Apparatus and (Un)Becoming a Canadian Subject in Sharon Bala’s The Boat People" English 3571G Professor Pauline Wakeham
2022 Kye Handleman "Then is now. Now is then": Reclaiming Marie-Joseph Angélique" English 3579F Professor Pauline Wakeham
2021 Liam Waterman "Perpetuating Exclusion: Chinese Canadian Masculinity in Fred Wah’s Diamond Grill" English 3572G Professor Manina Jones
2020 Alanna Zorgdrager "How Historical Metafiction Approaches Loss in Obasan and ‘Meneseteung’" English 2501E Professor Julia Emberley
2019 Meher Hakim "The Japanese-Canadian Experience: Dehumanization, Rape, and Blame in Joy Kowaga’s Obasan" English 2501E Professors Pauline Wakeham and Richard Moll
2018 Roshana Ghaedi "Trauma, Photography, and Fragmentation in Timothy Findley’s The Wars" English 2501E Professors Manina Jones and David Bentley
2017 Jennifer Tombs "How the Symbol of the B'gwus Functions as a Way of Speaking Back to Colonial Narratives in Monkey Beach" English 3880G Professors Manina Jones and Donna Pennee
2016 Mitchell Horkoff "The Static City and the City in Flux: Navigating Cultural Identity Through Urbanity in Barometer" English 2309E Professor Richard Moll
2015 Emma Lammers "A Marriage of Documentary and Myth: Regionality in James Reaney's Sticks and Stones" English 3776G Professors Donna Pennee and Pauline Wakeham
2014 Elizabeth DiEmanuele "The Repugnant Subject: Contradiction in the Indian Act of 1876" English 3880G
2013 Erin Lamotte "Ambivalence Towards Postmodernism in the Employment of Historiographic Metafiction in Alice Munro's "Menesteung" and Timothy Findley's The Wars" English 2309E
2012 Nicole Askin "Multifaceted Millions: National Identity in Shane Koyczan's 'We Are More'" English 3774E
2011 Emily Kring "Deconstructing Two-Spiritedness: Kent Monkham, Miss Chief, and Binary Blending" English  4720G
2010 Paige-Tiffany Beck "Somewhere Between Blue-Face and Banditos: The Theatrical 'Borderlands' in The Adventures of Ali & Ali and the aXes of Evil and Fronteras Americanas" English 2470G
2009 Matthew Waddell "Me, Myself, and I: Questioning Empathy" English 2470G
2008 Lisa Madokoro "Mapping Home: Questioning Space and Place in Princess Pocahontas and The Unnatural And Accidental Women" English 474F
2007 Tara McDonald "Wacousta's Winsome Women: The Portrayal of European and Native Femininity in the Canadian Council Project" English 274E
2006 David Barrick "thingness with capitalism (post theoretical politics as decribed in by Nichol" English 160E
2005 Colleen Daniher "The Canadian Musical: Producing a Soundscape of Identity" English 287G
2004 Jordan Berard "Finding the 'Voice to Utter Such Catastrophe': Revolution in Canadian Holocaust Poetry" English 274E
2003 Elizabeth Bohnert "Coyote in Drag: Gender Difference and Appropriation of Native Mythology" English 274E
2002 Danielle Picard "'A Double Wound': Social Injustice and Bodily Harm in Joy Kogawa's Obasan" English 160E