Malcolm Bowie Prize

In 2008 the Society for French Studies launched an annual Malcolm Bowie Prize, to be awarded for the best article published in the preceding year by an early-career researcher in the broader discipline of French Studies.

Malcolm Bowie was not only the most eminent and inspirational Anglophone scholar of French literature and theory of his generation, he was a towering figure in the field because of his tireless devotion to the scholarly community both in the UK and abroad, his service to the Society for French Studies offering but one example of this: he was President of the Society from 1994 to 1996, as well as General editor of its journal (French Studies) from 1980 to 1987. The Society felt that it was particularly appropriate to honour his memory by founding a prize for which only early-career scholars will be eligible, since he was a remarkable mentor to countless younger scholars, both in the UK and abroad.

Details of the 2021 prize round will be published here early in 2020.

2020 Entries

Entries for 2020 are now closed.

The award includes:

  • a cash prize of £1000;
  • expenses-paid travel to the next annual conference of the Society for French Studies;
  • mention in the French Studies Bulletin and on the Society for French Studies website.

2020 competition results

The Society is delighted to announce that the winner of the 2020 Malcolm Bowie prize is Vanessa Brutsche, for her article 'Duras’s Aurélia Steiner and the Ethics of Cinematic Form', which appeared in French Studies, 74.3 (July 2020), 403–19. Dr Brutsche (PhD UC Berkeley, 2017) is Assistant Professor of French in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at the University of Utah.

This year's runner-up is Benjamin Dalton (PhD King’s College London, 2020) for his article 'Forms of Freedoms: Marie Darrieussecq, Catherine Malabou, and the Plasticity of Science', Dalhousie French Studies, 115 (2020), 55–73. Dr Dalton is currently a lecteur of English at Université Paris Nanterre in the faculty of Langues et Cultures Étrangères (LCE)

Awards for all Society prizes for both 2019 and 2020 will be presented at our 2021 virtual conference, but winners from this year and last will be invited to attend in person the postponed annual conference in Belfast 2022.

Conditions and how to enter

These guidelines relate to the 2020 round of the competition and may be updated for the 2021 round.

The Society invites nominations of articles published in 2020 from editors of learned journals, editors or publishers of collected volumes, and heads of university departments. Authors may not self-nominate (though they may ask editors, publishers, or university departments to consider nominating them). There is a limit of one entry per author per calendar year while eligible. Where more than one nomination for an author is received, the panel chair will ask for the author’s preference as to which entry goes forward. To be eligible for nomination, authors must be within five years of obtaining their PhD when their article is published. In addition, they must either have been registered for their PhD or worked since then in a Department of French/Modern Languages, or equivalent. Articles may be published anywhere in the world, but must be written in French or English.

Nominations should be submitted by email to Professor Michael Syrotinski (, together with a statement which includes full publication details of the article concerned and an indication of how the candidate satisfies the two criteria for eligibility specified above. Nominations should be accompanied by a PDF file of the article as it appears in print. Nominations not accompanied by a PDF file will not be valid.

The extended deadline for receipt of nominations for the 2020 Prize (including the article itself) is 28 February 2021. Entries may be submitted immediately.

How the competition is judged

The articles are evaluated in two rounds. The competition is judged by a panel of 5 readers, including distinguished international scholars in French Studies. The panel for the 2019 competition comprised Judith Still (SFS President), Michael Syrotinski (SFS Vice-President), Shirley Jordan (Newcastle), Judith Miller (NYU), and Pierre-St. Amand (Yale). Each essay is read and evaluated by a panel member according to their area of expertise, avoiding any potential conflict of interest or personal association with the author. The articles scoring most highly in the first round are shortlisted, and progress to a second round, in which all judges read and score all articles. The prize is awarded to the article achieving the highest overall aggregate score from the panel of judges.

Previous recipients


Winner: Vanessa Brutsche

Project Duras’s Aurélia Steiner and the Ethics of Cinematic Form
Institution University of Utah
Publication French Studies, 74.3 (2020)

Runner up: Ben Dalton

Project Forms of Freedoms: Marie Darrieussecq, Catherine Malabou, and the Plasticity of Science
Institution University of Paris Nanterre
Publication Dalhousie French Studies, 115 (2020)


Winner: Annabel Kim

Project 'The Excremental Poetics of Daniel Pennac’s Journal d’un corps'
Institution Harvard University

Annabel Kim (Harvard), for her article “The Excremental Poetics of Daniel Pennac’s Journal d’un corps,” published in French Studies, Vol. LXXIII, No. 3, 2019

Publication French Studies, 73.3 (2019​)

Runner up: Tracy Rutler

Project 'Prosthetic Matters: On Blindness, Machines, and Knowledge in Diderot's Letter on the Blind'
Institution Pennsylvania State University
Publication Criticism, 60.2 (2019)

Runner up: Thibaut Radomme

Project 'Jeux de lettres, jeu du texte: l’hermétisme du "Roman de Fauvel" (Paris, BnF, français 146) au service de la satire'
Institution Louvain-la-Neuve/Lausanne
Publication Marion Uhlig et Martin Rohde (éd.), Belles Lettres: les figures de l’écrit au Moyen Âge, Wiesbaden, Reichert Verlag (Scrinium Friburgense, 44), 2019


Winner: Laura Hughes

Project ‘In the library of Jacques Derrida: manuscript materiality after the archival turn’
Institution New York University
Publication New Literary History, 49.3 (Summer 2018), 403-424

Runner up: Yan Wang

Project ‘L’écriture et le problème de l’ancienne histoire chinoise’
Institution Université Bordeaux Montaigne
Publication Monde français du dix-huitième siècle, 3.1 (2018), 1-20.​


Winner: Eliza Zingesser

Project Pidgin Poetics: Bird Talk in Medieval France and Occitania
Institution Columbia University
Publication New Medieval Literatures, 17 (2017), 62-80

Runner up: ​Andrea Gadberry

Project The Cupid and the Cogito: Cartesian Poetics
Institution New York University
Publication Critical Inquiry​​, 43.3 (Spring 2017), 738-51

Runner up: Annabel Kim

Project The Riddle of Racial Difference in Anne Garréta’s Sphinx
Institution Harvard University
Publication Diacritics, 45.1 (2017), 4-22


Winner: Tobias Warner

Project How Mariama Bâ Became World Literature: Translation and the Legibility of Feminist Critique
Institution UC Davis
Publication PMLA, 131: 5 (October 2016), 1239-55

Runner up: Dónal Hassett

Project Pupilles de l’Empire: Debating the Provision for Child Victims of the Great War in the French Empire
Institution University of Bristol
Publication French Historical Studies, 39: 2 (April 2016), 315-45​


Winner: Jennifer Rushworth

Project Proust, Derrida, and the Promise of Writing
Publication French Studies, 69.2 (April 2015), 205-29.


Winner: Edward Baring

Project Ne me raconte plus d’histoires: Derrida and the Problem of the History of Philosophy
Institution Harvard University, 2009
Publication History and Theory, 53.2 (2014), 175-193;

Winner: Chad B. Denton

Project Steel of Victory, Scrap of Defeat: Mobilizing the French Home Front, 1939-40
Institution PhD (University of California, Berkeley, 2009)
Publication War & Society, 33.2 (2014), 98-130.

Runner up: ​Katie Hornstein

Project Suspended Collectivity: Horace Vernet’s The Crossing of the Arcole Bridge(1826)’
Institution PhD (University of Michigan, 2010)
Publication Art History, 37.3 (2014), 428-53;

Runner up: ​Robert St. Clair

Project Laughing Matter(s): Poetics, Politics, and Ethics of the (Utopian) Body in Rimbaud’s Effarés
Institution PhD (University of Minnesota, 2011)
Publication Romanic Review, 104.1-2 (2013), 117-38 [article published in 2014]


Winner: Christopher Churchill

Project ‘The Unlikely Barrèsian Inheritance of Albert Camus’
Institution Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
Publication , Journal of the Canadian Historical Association / Revue de la Société historique du Canada 23:2 (2012), 251-297. [Journal year 2012, number published in 2013.]​

Runner up: Jennifer Edwards

Project ‘“Man Can be Subject to Woman”: Female Monastic Authority in Fifteenth-Century Poitiers'
Institution Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Publication Gender & History 25:1 (2013), 86-106

Runner up: Michael Meere

Project ‘La violence sur la scène classique: une question de (dé)goût’
Institution University of Virginia
Publication L’Invention du mauvais goût à l’âge classique (XVIIe-XVIIIe siècle), ed. Carine Barbafieri and Jean-Christophe Abramovici (Éditions Peeters, 2013), 123-40


Winner: Hannah Freed-Thall

Project 'Prestige of a Momentary Diamond: Economies of Distinction in Proust’
Institution University of California at Berkeley
Publication New Literary History (2012)​

Runner up: Elizabeth Everton

Project ‘Scenes of Perception and Revelation: Gender and Truth in Anti-Dreyfusard Caricature’
Institution UCLA
Publication French Historical Studies (2012)​


Winner: Andrew Counter

Project ‘One of Them: Homosexuality and Anarchism in Wilde and Zola’
Institution University of Cambridge
Publication Comparative Literature 63.4 (Fall 2011), 345-65.​

Runner up: Maria Muresan

Project ‘Wittgenstein in Recent French Poetics: Henri Meschonnic and Jacques Roubaud’
Publication Paragraph 34.3 (November 2011), 423–40.​​


Winner: ​Frédérique Aït-Touati

Project ‘Penser le ciel à l’âge classique: Fiction, hypothèse et astronomie de Kepler à Huygens'
Publication Annales HSS (March–April 2010), 325–44.​

Runner up: Rowan Tomlinson

Project ‘“Intelligible sans discipline”: enumeration, observation, and communication in Montaigne's Apologie de Raimond Sebond’,
Publication in Stephen Bamforth (ed.), Nouveaux Départs: Studies in Honour of Michel Jeanneret, Nottingham French Studies, 49:3 (2010), 87–109.​


Winner: ​Dorian Bell

Project ‘The Jew as Model: Anti-Semitism, Aesthetics, and Epistemology in Manette Salomon’
Institution University of California at Irvine
Publication Modern Language Notes, 124:4 (September 2009), 825–47


Winner: Luke Sunderland

Project ‘Le Cycle de Renart: From the Enfances to the Jugement in a Cyclical Roman de Renart Manuscript’
Institution Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
Publication French Studies, 62 (2008), 1–12

Runner up: Simon Kemp

Project ‘Darrieussecq’s Mind’
Institution St John's College, Oxford
Publication French Studies, 62 (2008), 429–41


Winner: Miranda Gill

Project ‘The Myth of the Female Dandy’
Institution University of Cambridge
Publication French Studies 61 (2007), 167–81​

Winner: Hugh Roberts

Project ‘La tête de Bruscambille et les métaphores mentales au début du XVIIe siècle’
Institution University of Exeter
Publication Revue d’histoire littéraire de la France, 107 (2007), 541–57

Professor Michael Syrotinski

School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Hetherington Building
University of Glasgow
G12 8RS

Entries for 2020 are now closed.