Avie Bennett Prize in Canadian Literature

Every year instructors of Canadian literature courses from the Department of English & Writing Studies are invited to recommend the best essay submitted for credit within the current academic year.

A prize of $650 plus a selection of books from The New Canadian Library is awarded annually for the best essay written by an undergraduate student registered in a Canadian Literature course within the Department of English & Writing Studies.

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Congratulations Kye Handleman (Faculty of Social Science)
2022 recipient of the Avie Bennett Prize in Canadian Literature
“Then is now. Now is then”: Reclaiming Marie-Joseph Angélique
Written for English 3579F - Topics in Canadian Literature: Black Writing in Canada taught by Professor Donna Pennee

The judge noted that Handelman's essay offers a sensitive and mature analysis of the ways in which Lorena Gale's 1995 play Angélique reclaims the variously forgotten and sensationalized history of Marie-Joseph Angélique --a slave who was tortured and hanged in 1734 for allegedly setting fire to her enslaver's Montreal property. Deftly interweaving close readings of Gale's play with historical and theatre research, Handelman demonstrates how Angélique restores voice, agency, and complexity to a remarkable individual while also confronting modern-day audiences with Canada's history of slavery and ongoing racial and colonial violence.

We wish Kye all the best with their studies in the future!

Thank you to Professor Pauline Wakeham who adjudicated the award this year.

Contest Rules

  1. Entries for Fall/Winter 2022-23 must be submitted by Monday, April 17, 2023.
  2. Students must be registered on main campus.
  3. You should submit work that has not hitherto been published or won an award in any other competition. 
  4. Eligible essays should receive a mark of at least 85%.
  5. Entries must be submitted to Shelli Hunter by email to uenglish@uwo.ca with the mark and instructor’s comments included.
  6. The winner will be notified by email by April of 2023.
  7. The results will be posted on the Department of English and Writing Studies website and social media channels.


Shelli Hunter | uenglish@uwo.ca


Year Recipient Title Course Adjudicator(s)
2021 Liam Waterman "Perpetuating Exclusion: Chinese Canadian Masculinity in Fred Wah’s Diamond Grill" English 3572G Professor Manina Jones
2020 Alanna Zorgdrager "How Historical Metafiction Approaches Loss in Obasan and ‘Meneseteung’" English 2501E Professor Julia Emberley
2019 Meher Hakim "The Japanese-Canadian Experience: Dehumanization, Rape, and Blame in Joy Kowaga’s Obasan" English 2501E Professors Pauline Wakeham and Richard Moll
2018 Roshana Ghaedi "Trauma, Photography, and Fragmentation in Timothy Findley’s The Wars” English 2501E Professors Manina Jones and David Bentley
2017 Jennifer Tombs "How the Symbol of the B'gwus Functions as a Way of Speaking Back to Colonial Narratives in Monkey Beach" English 3880G Professors Manina Jones and Donna Pennee
2016 Mitchell Horkoff "The Static City and the City in Flux": Navigating Cultural Identity Through Urbanity in Barometer English 2309E Professor Richard Moll
2015 Emma Lammers "A Marriage of Documentary and Myth: Regionality in James Reaney's Sticks and Stones" English 3776G Professors Donna Pennee and Pauline Wakeham
2014 Elizabeth DiEmanuele "The Repugnant Subject: Contradiction in the Indian Act of 1876" English 3880G
2013 Erin Lamotte "Ambivalence Towards Postmodernism in the Employment of Historiographic Metafiction in Alice Munro's "Menesteung" and Timothy Findley's The Wars" English 2309E
2012 Nicole Askin "Multifaceted Millions: National Identity in Shane Koyczan's 'We Are More'" English 3774E
2011 Emily Kring "Deconstructing Two-Spiritedness: Kent Monkham, Miss Chief, and Binary Blending" English  4720G
2010 Paige-Tiffany Beck "Somewhere Between Blue-Face and Banditos: The Theatrical 'Borderlands' in The Adventures of Ali & Ali and the aXes of Evil and Fronteras Americanas" English 2470G
2009 Matthew Waddell "Me, Myself, and I: Questioning Empathy" English 2470G
2008 Lisa Madokoro "Mapping Home: Questioning Space and Place in Princess Pocahontas and The Unnatural And Accidental Women" English 474F
2007 Tara McDonald "Wacousta's Winsome Women: The Portrayal of European and Native Femininity in the Canadian Council Project" English 274E
2006 David Barrick "thingness with capitalism (post theoretical politics as decribed in by Nichol" English 160E
2005 Colleen Daniher "The Canadian Musical: Producing a Soundscape of Identity" English 287G
2004 Jordan Berard "Finding the 'Voice to Utter Such Catastrophe': Revolution in Canadian Holocaust Poetry" English 274E
2003 Elizabeth Bohnert "Coyote in Drag: Gender Difference and Appropriation of Native Mythology" English 274E
2002 Danielle Picard "'A Double Wound': Social Injustice and Bodily Harm in Joy Kogawa's Obasan" English 160E