Australian Literary Studies PhD Essay Prize

2021 PhD Essay Prize Winners

We are thrilled to announce the results of our inaugural PhD Essay Prize.

The quality of submissions we received was so outstanding, that we decided to award two winners. Congratulations to Jonah Shallit and Cheryl O'Byrne, and to Brendan Casey for his highly commended essay. We look forward to shepherding these amazing pieces to publication next year.


Cheryl O'Byrne: 'From Woke Readers to Good Guests: Aboriginal Life-History Writing, Settler Reading Practices and Not Just Black and White'

Jonah Shallit: 'Kangaroo Redux: Reading the Conflicts of South Australian Settler Colonialism in the 1858 and 1885 Editions of W.A. Cawthorne's Kuperee'


Brendan Casey: 'Essential Gossip: Allen Ginsberg, Robert Duncan and U.S.-Australian Poetics'

About the Prize

This $700 cash prize is open to current PhD students and PhD graduates who have completed since August 2019. The prize includes mentoring to publication and a complimentary subscription to our journal.

Scholars from diverse background are warmly encouraged to apply.

We particularly seek essays that respond to the journal's areas of interest, including:

  • First Nations and trans-Indigenous literary studies
  • The uses and value of literary works and literary criticism
  • Literary reception and book history
  • The future of Literary Studies as a discipline
  • Intersectional approaches to gender and literature

Essays should be between 5,000-10,000 words in length. Please follow our submission guidelines.


To apply, please email your essay to by 30th August 2021.

PhD Essay Prize Flyer