Awards & Prizes!

Awards season is upon us here at the NCRCL, and as ever we’re delighted to celebrate the achievements of our MA and PhD students with prizes and pictures. On the red carpet this year…

The Pinsent Prize for outstanding work on the MA in Children’s Literature – on site

Eleanor Hamblen was awarded the Pinsent prize for outstanding work on the onsite programme. Elle’s coursework was of a very high standard overall but her it was her dissertation – entitled “Closer to Nature: miniature fantasies and environmental values in the work of Steve Augarde and Timothée de Fombelle” – was especially brilliant. On the surface, the dissertation was a straightforward comparison between the Touchstone trilogy (The Various 2003, Celandine 2005, Winter Wood 2008) by British author and illustrator Steve Augarde and the Tobie Lolness duology (La Vie Suspendue 2006, Les Yeux d’Elisha 2007) but Elle’s research revealed the many subtleties in these texts and showed that miniature children’s literature can convey complex environmental values. Elle showed that while Augarde’s and de Fombelle’s work emerges from very different fantasy traditions, both authors use miniature characters and miniature worlds to examine wider issues of ecological crisis and environmental responsibility.  As well as balancing theoretical engagement with careful close-readings of texts and illustrations, Elle provided her own translations of de Fombelle’s work.  As a result, the dissertation really showcased Elle’s skills, allowing her to build on the critical skills honed through the taught modules on the MA programme and draw on her own areas of expertise and experience.  The result was a sophisticated and impressive piece of work.

Elle receives her award from Chancellor Jacqueline Wilson

Elle receives her award from Chancellor Jacqueline Wilson.

MA Children’s Literature Dissertation Poster Prizes

At our Open Day this year we introduced a poster presentation session, and displayed some brilliant work from on-site and distance-learning students for visitors to appreciate. The projects represented ranged from a study of dogs in the mythology and folklore of the British Isles and their appearances in post-1960s children’s fantasy fiction to a creative response to The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, but our two prizes were awarded to:

Kathy Schaefers for a detailed and elegant expression of her work on adolescent space in contemporary American dystopian fiction for young adults.

Kathy with her poster on dystopian YA fiction.

Kathy with her poster on dystopian YA fiction.

Stephanie Tanazir for a creative 3D poster-and-artifact account of aetonormativity and childness in miniature literature.

Stephanie with her poster.

Stephanie with her poster.

Stephanie's miniature creation.

Stephanie’s miniature creation.


Roehampton Award Winner – Erica Gillingham

The Roehampton Award has been established by the University’s Employability Department to celebrate and reward volunteering, service, leadership and extracurricular achievements of Roehampton students. This year, PhD student and resident NCRCL Blog Editor-in-Chief Erica Gillingham deservedly won an award – here’s an extract from the nomination:

Erica is working on a PhD titled ‘Lesbian Love Stories in Young Adult Literature,’ a topic she came to through her strong commitment to promoting and celebrating books representing LGBT communities. Her academic research is enriched by her numerous extra-curricular activities, which include a significant contribution to the research culture and student life at the NCRCL. Since 2013 she has been Editor of this NCRCL blog, commissioning a book review series and individual posts from students, staff, and alumni, and making the site look lovely. During her time at Roehampton she has also helped organise the annual IBBY/MA conference and volunteered at various events run by staff in the department. Erica’s sunny outlook and energy invigorates those around her, and her knowledge and enthusiasm for LGBT children’s literature has inspired many students to work in this field, and for new areas of the MA programmes to be opened up.

Erica with her supervisor, Dr Alison Waller

Erica with her supervisor, Dr Alison Waller


About Alison Waller

I am a Senior Lecturer at the National Centre for Research in Children's Literature (NCRCL) at Roehampton University in London. My main research areas are young adult fiction and the practice and philosophy of reading. My monograph Constructions of Adolescence in Fantastic Realism was published by Routledge in 2009 and I have also edited a collection of essays for the Palgrave Macmillan New Casebook Series on Melvin Burgess (2013). I am currently working on a project called Rereading Childhood Books: a Poetics, which asks how adults reread and negotiate relationships with books from their pasts.

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