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Student Prizes 2021

Posted on 2 September 2021

The Department of English and Related Literature is delighted to announce the winners of this year’s undergraduate prizes: a testament to the superb quality of our students’ work in very challenging circumstances.

The Jacques Berthoud Prize is awarded every year to the best piece of third-year work. This year it was won by Anthony Picton for his wonderful essay, 'The Ghost in the Jungle', written for our Henry James module, and described by the judges as "an exceptional essay that compares favourably with much published Henry James scholarship."

Congratulations to second-year student Katy Leverett, who is this year’s Cobham-Longfellow scholar. 

This year's winner of the Ruth Selina Poetry Prize, awarded in memory of an extraordinary student, is Robin Houghton. Our judges, Dr JT Welsch and Dr Vahni Capildeo, selected Robin's wonderful and original poem, ‘The houses are coming' as the winner.  They commented that Robin's poem "exemplifies the sharp mix of personal, political, and philosophical thinking in so many of this year's entries. The menace and bodily threat of these invading houses captures something dreadfully immediate about the often abstract, economic debates in a year when domestic confinements also highlighted a worsening housing and house market crisis. The threat of invasion is heightened by the claustrophobic form of this spooling report, leaving us suspicious of even 'the untenanted spaces of our minds."

The judges were astounded by the standard of entries for the Ruth Selina Poetry Prize this year, which came in "a dazzling range of forms, subject matter, and poetic invention.", and so selected 12 other poems for commendation:
Misbah Ahmed, ‘Imposter Syndrome’
Nay Assassa, ‘A Train Stops at Bromley’
Emma Burton, ‘The Boat’
Aleks Carver, ‘Time Has Tricked Us’
Chloe D’arcy, ‘5G fish ’n’ chips’
Emily Mellows, ‘Allie and the Paper Girls’
Arundhathi M A, ‘Stains’
Eve Naden, ‘Fissures’
Aidan Quiqley, ‘First Will and Testament’
Jessie Taussig, ‘It Never Seems Clear’
Ellen Waters, ‘One of the things you never told me’
Henry Wright, ‘And no rock’
The work submitted for all our prizes is a testament to the hard work, the intellectual curiosity and the sheer vitality of our undergraduates. Reading this work has been a great privilege for the judges, and we are delighted to congratulate our prizewinners.