Undergraduate Essay Prize

A prize of $200 is awarded annually for the best essay submitted for credit within the current academic year by an undergraduate student registered in an English, Writing, Film, Theatre or Medieval Studies course at the 2100 level and above.


Jiali (Betty) Wang

This year's Undergraduate Essay Prize has been awarded to Betty Wang for "Equiano and his Fight for Smithian Market Ideals in The Interesting Narrative". Wang's essay shows how Olaudah Equiano, an eighteenth-century enslaved African who bought his freedom, absorbs Adam Smith's ideals of a capitalist system and, at the same time, exposes this system as flawed and self-defeating as long as it engages in the slave trade. The adjudicators found Wang's reading of Equiano and her use of Adam Smith's central tenets to be both original and astute. Her demonstration of the hinge between the larger economic system and Equiano's daily life events is nuanced and presented persuasively in clear and lively prose. Congratulations to Betty and thanks to all the students who submitted excellent essays!

Contest Rules

  1. Entries must be submitted by Friday, April 12, 2019.
  2. Entries will be adjudicated based on the quality of their research and academic writing.
  3. Eligible essays should receive a mark of at least 85%.
  4. One entry per student.
  5. Entries must be work submitted to a course offered through English and Writing in a course numbered 2100-4990 (including Writing, Film, Theatre and Medieval Studies).
  6. The submission must be the graded paper, with instructor comments (photocopy is fine).
  7. Submissions may not have been hitherto published or won an award in any other competition.
  8. Previous winners are not eligible.
  9. Entries must be submitted in hard copy only to the Department of English and Writing Studies, University College, 2401B, Western University with the following information:
    • student name
    • student number
    • email address
    • telephone number
    • contest name: Undergraduate Essay Prize
  10. The winning entry will be named by April 30, 2019.
  11. The winner will be notified by email.
  12. The results will be posted on the Department of English website and social media channels.

Inquiries to: Shelli Hunter | uenglish@uwo.ca


Year Name Adjudicators
2018 Gillian Nangreave Professor Richard Moll