Prizes & Grants

Sally Mitchell Prize

The annual Sally Mitchell Prize recognizes the best paper presented by a graduate student at the annual NAVSA conference. All graduate students presenting a paper at the 2023 conference are invited to submit their papers for consideration. Papers must be received as electronic files (MS Word format preferred) by Saturday, December 2, 2023. To be eligible, you must be a graduate student at the time of your presentation.

Because the contest honors the paper as it was given at the conference, please keep your essays to under 12 pages double-spaced, inclusive of notes and works cited. (Handouts and slides or other images may be included as an appendix, if these were given at the conference.)

Please submit an electronic version of your essay as a single attachment to an email that contains the following information

  • your name
  • affiliation (rank and dissertation director, if applicable)
  • title of the paper
  • snail mail and email address

Send the submission by email to Pamela K. Gilbert

The winning paper will be selected based on the following criteria: 1) potential significance for Victorian studies; 2) quality and depth of scholarly research and interpretation; and 3) clarity and effectiveness of presentation. The judges will choose one essay for the award and may also choose two honorary runners-up. The prize winner will receive $250 and a year's free NAVSA membership (including a subscription to Victorian Studies). If the judges are deadlocked, the final decision will be made by the NAVSA Executive Committee.

Past Winners

2023 Conference
winner: Ryan Carroll, U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “Revision and the Politics of Truth-Telling in The Autobiography of Juan Francisco Manzano
honorable mention: Aaron Bartlett, University of Maryland, College Park, “Violent Form of Revision: Toru Dutt, Edmund Gosse, and the Racialized Body/Text”

2022 Conference
winner: Alexis Ferguson, Princeton U, “On Knowing Nature's Syntax: Non-Cis Sex in Adam Bede
honorable mention: Jessica Cook, UCLA, “Memory Machines: Charles Dodgson's Memoria Technica Poems”

2020-21 Conference
winner: Rebeca Velasquez, U of Chicago, “From Jamaica to England: The Legal Worlds of George Eliot’s Felix Holt
honorable mention: Chloe Truong-Jones, NYU, “Judicious Colonization: Alexander Maconochie Penal Reform in 19th Century Colonial Australia”

2019 Conference
winner: Megan Arkenberg, U of California, Davis, “Novel on the Brain”: Vernon Lee’s Neural Media”
honorable mention: Jacob Romanow, Rutgers U, “Unmaking Genre: Towards a History of the Novel as Melodrama”

2018 Conference
winner: Imogen Forbes-Macphail, U of California, Berekeley, “Time, Space, and Ekphrasis”

2017 Conference
winner: Erica Kalnay, U of Wisconsin, Madison, “Beatrix Potter’s Mycological Aesthetics”

2016 Conference
winner: Noa Reich, U of Toronto, “Speculation, Mortmain, and the Subjects of Middlemarch

2015 Conference
winner: Rebecca Jayne Hildebrand, Columbia U, “Middlemarch's Medium: Description, Sympathy, and Realism's Ambient Worlds”

2014 Conference
winner: Christie Allen, U of Michigan, “Mysterious and Marvellous: Classification of Victorian Fiction in Mudie’s Catalogue”

2013 Conference
co-winner: Anna Gibson, Duke U, “Sensation, Science, and (Un)predictable People”
co-winner: Jessie Reeder, U of Wisconsin, Madison, “Trollope, Mexico, and the Narratives of National Finance

2012 Conference
co-winner: Naomi Levine, Rutgers U, “Arthur Hallam and the Origin of Rhyme”
co-winner: John MacNeill Miller, Rutgers U, “Humanizing the Social Network in George Eliot and G. H. Lewes”

2011 Conference
winner: James Emmott, Birkbeck College, U London, “‘You Can Turn Her On as Often as You Like’: Performing Phonographic Physiology”
hon. mention: Anna M. Gibson, Duke U, “Bodies Acting Out: Physiology, Narrative, and the Sensation Novel”
hon. mention: Ryan Fong, U California, Davis, “Oliver Twisted, or Performance and the Parish Boy’s Visual Progress”

2010 Conference
winner: Naomi Levine, Rutgers U, "Trebled Beauty: William Morris's Terza Rima"
hon. mention: David Sweeney Coombs, Cornell U, "Beautiful Graffiti: Vernon Lee and the Semiotics of Perception"
hon. mention: Catherine Cronquist Browning, U of California, Berkeley, "Shrinking Bodies, Expanding Scopes: Omniscience in the Victorian Child Fantasy Novel"

2009 Conference
winner: Henry Cowles, Princeton U, "A Victorian Extinction: The Great Auk, Alfred Newton, and Early Wildlife Protection"
hon. mention: Renée Fox, Princeton U, "Necromantic Browning"

2008 Conference
winner: Richard Bonfiglio, U of Chicago, "Portable Passions: Eliot, Culture, and the Cultivation of Locality"
hon. mention: Nathan K. Hensley, Duke U, "Form and Excess, Morant Bay and Swinburne"
hon. mention: Nathaniel Stein, Brown U, "Manly Failings: Representation, Corporeality, and Failure in Queen Victoria's First Visit to Her Wounded Soldiers"

2007 Conference
winner: Paul Fyfe, U of Virginia, "Accidents of a Novel Trade: Insurance, Industrial Catastrophe, and Mary Barton"
hon. mention: Maeve Adams, New York U, "Commendable Objects: Marginal Utility, Financial Realism, and the Novel in 1870s England"
hon. mention: Jesse Rosenthal, Columbia U, "Gamblers' Fallacies: Materialism, Realism, and Daniel Deronda at Play"

2006 Conference
winner: Jason Lindquist, Indiana U, "On 'Imagination' and the Rise of a Victorian Aesthetics of Complexity"
hon. mention: Melissa McLeod, Georgia SU, "Acoustic Science and Racial Identity inDaniel Deronda"
hon. mention: Lisa M. Smith, U of Toronto, "Dorothea Through the Pier-Glass"

2005 Conference
winner: David Kurnick, Columbia U, "Empty Houses"
hon. mention: Lisa Brocklebank, Brown U, "Psychic Reading"
hon. mention: Nathan Hensley, Duke U, "'Sir Richard Burton,' Orientalist"

2004 Conference
winner: Heather Morton, U of Virginia, "Swinburne and Wilde on Whitman"
hon. mention: Sarah Rose Cole, Columbia U, "The Temple"
hon. mention: Kathleen O'Neill Sims, U of Virginia, "'Old Gardens,' 'Fresh Flowers'"