Undergraduate Essay Prize

One prize of $200 is awarded in April of each year for the best essay submitted for credit within the current academic year by an undergraduate student registered in an English, Writing, Film, Theatre or Medieval Studies course at the 2100 level and above within the Department of English and Writing Studies at Western University.

Warmest congratulations to Faith Caswell (Faculty of Arts and Humanities) who has been awarded the 2024 Undergraduate Essay Prize for their essay "The Power of Uninterpretable Bodies in William Morris’ 'The Defence of Guenevere'," submitted in Professor Rowlinson's English 4350F - Seminar in Nineteenth-Century Literature: Voice, Image and Politics in Victorian Poetry.

“The Defence of Guenevere,” a reimagining of Guinevere’s trial in Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur. Exploring Morris’s allusions to Dante’s Inferno and Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind,” Faith argues that Guenevere’s paradoxical use of her body to defend herself against charges of carnality confounds the distinction between guilt and innocence that both her audience in the poem and readers of the poem seek to make. This argument is original, compelling, and beautifully articulated.

Thank you to Professor Anne Schuurman who adjudicated the award this year.

  1. Entries for Fall term half courses, Winter term half courses, and Full year courses must be submitted by the instructor by Monday, April 15, 2024.
  2. Entries will be adjudicated based on the quality of their research and academic writing.
  3. Eligible essays should receive a mark of at least 85%.
  4. One entry per student.
  5. Entries must be work submitted to a course offered through the Department of English and Writing Studies in a course numbered 2100-4990 (including English, Writing, Film, Theatre and Medieval Studies).
  6. The submission must be the graded paper, with instructor comments (photocopy is fine).
  7. Submissions cannot be hitherto published or won an award in any other competition.
  8. Previous winners are not eligible.
  9. Entries must be submitted to the Department of English and Writing Studies, Undergraduate Studies Office, University College, 2401B, or by email in PDF format to uenglish@uwo.ca.
  10. The winner will be notified by email by April/May.
  11. The results will be posted on the Department of English and Writing Studies website and social media channels.




Year Name Adjudicators
2023 Elliott Cooper Professor Anne Schuurman
2022 Andrew Fullerton Professor Matthew Rowlinson
2021 Emily Moyer Professors Madeline Bassnett and Manina Jones
2020 Lily Wilde Professor Madeline Bassnett
2019 Jiali (Betty) Wang Professors Mary Helen McMurran and Anne Schuurman
2018 Gillian Nangreave Professor Richard Moll