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Department of English presents annual prizes and awards

Department of English presents annual prizes and awards

On February 6, the Department of English honoured award recipients at the annual English Achievements & Awards Reception. The program offers a number of awards each year, including prizes and scholarships that recognize the achievements of majors and minors in English and Creative Writing. Several awards were established to honour former faculty members; one honours the Department’s retired faculty; and one was established by a former Chancellor of York University. In addition, prizes are awarded for the best essays written in courses at each year level. Most of the awards are supported by donations from former faculty, alumni, and affiliated community members. The Department also fêted the winners of the 2021-2022 T.A. Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Stephanie Stavro Scholarship in English, and the LA&PS Digital Composition Prize (3000-Level). This year’s awards reception – the first one since before the pandemic – was held in a bright, balloon-festooned dining room in the Schulich Executive Learning Centre. It was organized by the English Department with the support of staff members Michelle Hong and Rose Crawford.

Group photo of the faculty nominators and the student award recipients of the English Prizes.
Top: (Left to right) Robert Candoni, Prof. Stephen Cain, Prof. Deanne Williams, Prof. Elizabeth Pentland, Kaila Gallacher, Madelaine McLaughlin, Prof. Katarina O'Briain, Jordan Gionet, Lisa Sterrett, Kirandeep Bhanot, Sebastian Fess, Prof. Natalie Neill, Maybelle Leung, John Batista, Adrian Grek, Jelem Cuary, Caio Popovic, Prof. Jacqueline Petropoulos
Bottom: Prof. Natalia Khomenko, Sarah Paiva Spadafora, Abbie Mauno, Raven Lovering, Judith Nancekivell, Prof. Dana Patrascu-Kingsley, Prof. Megan Hillman

The event began with opening remarks by the Chair of English, Professor Tina Y. Choi, and Associate Dean, Teaching & Learning, Professor Anita Lam. Both Professor Choi and AD Lam extended warm congratulations to the award winners and spoke about the pleasure of being able to honour students in person after a three-year hiatus. The Undergraduate Program Director of English, Professor Stephen Cain, presided over the ceremony. Faculty members who had nominated students for prizes presented the awards to the winners, speaking in glowing terms of their students’ work. Many award recipients took to the podium to express eloquent thanks to their professors, families, and friends. Following the formal ceremony, award winners and their guests, faculty, and staff mingled over sandwiches, treats, and beverages.

“It is such a delight to celebrate our wonderful students,” said Natalie Neill, a Teaching Stream Professor in the Department. “We are so proud of their accomplishments.”

Read full story on YFile.

Warm congratulations to all the winners and honourable mentions! The following is the list of winners:

Best 1000-level Essay Prize 2021-2022

Winner: Tia Buckeridge for “Poke the Bear: Deconstructing Hegemonic Culture and Gender Norms in Satire”

Honourable Mention: Sarah Paiva Spadafora for “The Cut That Always Bleeds”

Best 2000-level Essay Prize 2021-2022

Winner: Lisa Sterrett for “A Postmodern Caribbean Commodity”

Best 3000-level Essay Prize 2021-2022

Winner: Kirandeep Bhanot (2022 Recipient of the LA&PS Digital Composition Prize) for ‘Man vs. The Horrors of Nature in Green Romanticism: “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” vs. “Darkness”’

Honourable Mention: Judith Nancekivell for “The Function of Music in As You Like It and The Tempest

Best 4000-level Essay Prize 2021-2022

Winner: Vanessa Spagnuolo for ‘“I’m sorry. Me too.”: The Disruption of Oppression in Harlem Duet and its Predecessor’

Honourable Mention: Raven Lovering for “Audible Visions: Synaesthetic Synergy in the translation of The Hours from novel to film”

The Avie Bennett Prize in Canadian Literature 2021-2022

Winner: Sebastian Fess for “The Cost of Building a Nation: The Representation of Immigrant Workers in 'Towards the Last Spike' and In the Skin of a Lion

The Brian Hepworth Memorial Prize 2021-2022

Winner: Adrian Grek for “The Unbearable Weight of Huffing Opinions About the Mind-Brain Problem”

The Department of English Retirees’ Scholarship 2021-2022

Co-Winner: Jelem Cuary

Co-Winner: Jordan Gionet

The Elizabeth Sabiston Prize 2021-2022

Winner: Zoe Kavouris for ‘“am I not a gracious proof”: Manipulating Constructions of Femininity in “The Defence of Guenevere”’

Honourable Mention: Ashlei Stewart for “The Enchanting Queen: Examining Cleopatra’s Sexuality in Antony and Cleopatra

The H.K. Girling Literature Prize 2021-2022

Winner: Tiger Thompson-Davidson for “Oedipus Rex: Monarchical Exploitation and Contemporary Class Struggle”

The June McMaster-Harrison Memorial Prize 2021-2022

Winner: Robert Candoni for “After Arthur: An Attempt at Describing a Post-Arthurian Text”

The Lucille Herbert Memorial Scholarship 2021-2022

Co-Winner: Abbie Mauno

Co-Winner: Kaila Gallacher

The Matthew Ahern Memorial Prize 2021-2022

Winner: Caio Popovic

The Stephanie Stavro Scholarship in English 2021-2022

Winner: John Batista

The TA Award for Excellence in Teaching 2021-2022

Winner: Maybelle Leung

Candid photo of students and family at the reception, sitting at a table.
Maybelle Leung (Recipient of TA Award for Excellence in Teaching), Jelem Cuary (Recipient of English Dept. Retirees' Scholarship) and family
Sebastian Fess at the podium
Sebastian Fess,
Winner of Avie Bennett Prize in Canadian Lit.
Lisa Sterrett at the podium
Lisa Sterrett,
Winner of Best 2000-Level Essay Prize