Prizes, Fellowships, and Awards

Our graduate students excel as scholars, writers, and teachers.  This page trumpets the awards they have won at many levels: the English Department, the College, the university, and beyond.  While not an exhaustive list, it documents most recent award-winners in Research, Creative Writing, and Teaching. 

Our thanks go out to the donors who have made these awards possible.  

Research and Scholarship Awards


Lewis P. Simpson Distinguished Dissertation Award

For half a century a leading voice in American letters, Professor Lewis P. Simpson edited The Southern Review for decades.  This award is granted annually in his memory; it goes to the best dissertation in English defended during the previous calendar year.

Madoka Kishi for The Erotics of Race Suicide: The Making of Whiteness and the Death Drive in the Progressive Era, 1880-1920 and Katherine Willis for Chaucer’s “Naked Text” and the Tradition of the Medieval Sublime. 2016
Michael Griffin for The Visual Novel: Fictional Space & Print After 1900. 2015
Laura Helen Marks for Erotic Transgressions: Pornographic Uses of the Victorian. 2014
Kristopher Mecholsky for Adaptation as Anarchist: A Complexity Method for Ideology-Critique of American Crime Narratives. 2013
Kristi Melancon for An African American Discourse Community in Black & White: The New Orleans Tribune. 2012
Dan Mangiavellano for Invisible Links, Abject Chains: Habit in Nineteenth-Century British Literature. 2011
Alison Graham-Bertolini for Home of the Brave: Vigilante Women in Contemporary American Fiction. 2010
Sean Flory for “How to Remember Thee?”: Problems of Memorization in English Writing, 1558-1625. 2009
Lisa Costello for Who Speaks and Who Listens? Genre, Gender, and Memory in Holocaust Discourses. 2008
Tameka Cage for Painful Discourses: Borders, Regions, and Representations of Female Circumcision from Africa to America. 2007
Dallas Hulsey for The Iconography of Nationalism: Icons, Popular Culture, and American Nationalism. 2006
Judith Kemerait for Routes of Freedom: Slave Resistance and the Politics of Literary Geography. 2005
Bradley Bankston for Against Biopoetics: On the Use and Misuse of the Concept of Evolution in Contemporary Literary Theory. 2004
Camille Martin, for Radical Dialectics in the Experimental Poetry of Berssenbrugge, Hejinian, Harryman, Weiner, and Scalapino. 2003
Christopher Rieger, Clear-Cutting Eden: Representations of Nature in Southern Fiction, 1930-1950. 2002

James Olney Distinguished Dissertation Award

Awarded annually, to the best dissertation by an English PhD who graduated during the previous calendar year, to honor our emeritus English Professor James Olney.  A renowned autobiography theorist and scholar, Professor Olney brilliantly edited The Southern Review for many years.  

Matt Dischinger for Post-Southern Melancholia: Revising the Region in the Twenty-First Century. 2016
Dena Marks for “Gathering Thinglessness”: Samuel Beckett’s Essayistic Approach to Nothing. 2015
Corrie Kiesel for Blame: Marriage, Folklore, and the Victorian Novel. 2014
Kristopher Mecholsky for Adaptation as Anarchist: A Complexity Method for Ideology-Critique of American Crime Narratives. 2013
James Long for Revolutionary Republics: U.S. National Narratives and the Independence of Latin America, 1810-1846. 2012
Jessica Ketcham Webber for Ephemeral Media, Persistent Action: Public Pedagogies of Collective Resistance. 2011
Lisa Moody for Religion and Realism in Late Nineteenth-Century American Literature, 2010.  This dissertation also received the College-level nomination for the Josephine Roberts Award.

Josephine A Roberts Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Awarded annually to the best dissertation at LSU in non-science fields.  We are proud that so many of our students have won this university-wide award.  It commemorates our colleague Professor Josephine Roberts, who revolutionized the study of early modern women writers, particularly Lady Mary Wroth.

Katherine Willis for Chaucer’s “Naked Text” and the Tradition of the Medieval Sublime. 2016.
Monica Miller for Lopsided, Scarred, and Squint-Eyed: Ugly Women in the Work of Southern Women Writers. 2015
James Weldon Long for Revolutionary Republics: U.S. National Narratives and the Independence of Latin America, 1810-1846. 2012
Lisa Costello for Who Speaks and Who Listens? Genre, Gender, and Memory in Holocaust Discourses. 2007
Anthony J. Bolden, All Blues: A Study of African-American Resistance Poetry. 1998
Sigrid Marika King, “Vertue vanish’d”: Censorship of Early English Women Dramatists. 1994
Mary A. Villeponteaux, “Her excellence to Marre”: The Problem of Feminine Authority in Spenser's Faerie Queene. 1990
Constance A. Douglas, Rebirth through Narrative: John Bunyan’s Autobiographies (Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners). 1987 

Gale Carrithers Outstanding Essay Award

Awarded each year for the best essay or essays written by a graduate student in English to honor the memory of Professor Gale Carrithers, our former chair and esteemed Renaissance scholar who mentored graduate students with great care. 

·         Kelly Vines for “A Drama of Class and Race: Southern Progressivism in Paul Green’s The House of Connelly.” 2016

Logan Wiedenfeld for “Excess and Economy in Sons and Lovers.” 2015
Madoka Kishi for “The Ecstasy of the Martyr”: Lesbianism, Sacrifice, and Morbidness in The Bostonians.” 2014
Madoka Kishi for “More Than Anything Else, I Like My Closets: Willa Cather's Melancholic Erotics of the Closet in The Professor's House.” 2013
Corrie Kiesel for “Victorian Charivari and Hardy’s ‘Proud Piece of Silk and Wax-Work.’” 2012
Mitch Frye for “Westward Expansion, Economic Contraction: The Semi-Cowboy Politics of Fitzgerald’s Last Tycoon.” 2011
Jennifer Ellis West for “Technology Knows Best: The Cultural Work of Hospital Birth in 21st Century Film.” 2010
Daniel R. Mangiavellano for “The Source of First Principles: Habit, Education, and Moulding the Imagination.” 2009
Lisa Moody for “The American ‘Lives’ of Jesus: The Malleable Figure of Christ as a Man of the People.” 2008
Lisa Moody for “Mediating Social Consciousness: George Eliot’s Approach to Religion and Realism.” 2007
Ilana Xinos for “Narrating Captivity and Identity: Christophorus Castani’s Greek Exile and the Genesis of the Greek-American.” 2006
Lisa Costello for “History and Memory in a Dialogic of ‘Performative Memorialization’ in Art Spiegelman’s Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.” 2005  
Terri Ruckel for “‘To Speak of My Own Situation’: Touring the Mother Periphery in Kincaid’s The Autobiography of My Mother.” 2004


Dickens Project at LSU Essay Award

Awarded annually in an essay competition to determine who will attend the Dickens Universe. 

Mary Pappalardo for “Writing from the New Colony: Place, Subjectivity, and Textual Production in Guantanamo Diary” and Stacey Amo for “Tasting Otherness, Othering Tastiness: Monique Truong’s Bitter in the Mouth.” 2016 
Caleb Doan for “The Reciprocity of the Gift in Typee’s Emerging Global Pacific​” and Helena Brigman for “Eliza Acton's Modern Cookery in All Its Branches (Longman, 1845).” 2015
Logan Wiedenfeld for “The Other Ancient Quarrel: Ulysses and Classical Rhetoric” and Lindsay Dearinger for “Recentering Victorian Jewish Education.” 2014 
Matt Dischinger for “‘The Lowest Thing’?: Faulkner and the New Southern Jew” and Monica Miller for “The Petrifying Women: The Figure of the Ugly Woman in Eudora Welty’s Curtain of Green.” 2013
Jordan Stone for “‘Creating America from a ‘Favorable Position’: The Autoethnography of William Dean Howells” and Emily Kobayashi, “Detective or Defective Fiction: A Matter of Breathing or Dying in Bleak House.” 2012
Laura Helen Marks, “Re-Sexualizing Scrooge: Gender, Spectatorship, and the Subversion of Genre in Shaun Costello’s The Passions of Carol.” 2011
Ali Rezaie, “Translation without Original in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner.” 2011
Laura Faulk, “‘Was it Death or Life that Moved Us?’: Death and Maternity in Aurora Leigh.” 2010
Jerrod Hollyfield,“Imperial Matrimony: Domestic Epics in the Victorian Novel.” 2010
Doris Raab, “Warring Ideologies: Tennyson’s Princess and Gilbert’s Burlesque.” 2010
James Long, “Exploring Atlantic Contact: Transnational Currents in Nineteenth Century American Literature.” 2009
Laura Kiegan, “A Knights Tale: Feminine Heroism and Female Monstrosity in Anna Jameson’s Shakespeare’s Heroines.” 2009
Lisa Moody, “Mediating Social Consciousness: George Eliot’s Approach to Religion and Realism.” 2008
Corrie Kiesel, “‘Don’t be a Naughty Blue Beard’: Dangerous Romances in David Copperfield.” 2008
Dan Mangiavellano, “Diagnosing the Uncontrollable Body in Joanna Baillie and Dr. John Hunter.” 2007


Graduate School Dissertation-Year Fellowship

University-wide competitive fellowship:  we are very proud of our record of winning this award.

Jordan Von Cannon, 2015-2016
Michael Von Cannon, 2014-15
Matthew Dischinger, 2014-2015
Madoka Kishi, 2014-2015
Laura Faulk, 2013-14
Laura Jones and Laura Marks, 2012-2013
Mitch Frye, 2011-2012
James Long, 2010-2011
Jessica Ketcham Weber, 2009-2010
Joseph Brown and Alison Graham Bertolini, 2008-2009
Denise Millstein, 2006-2007

American Association of University Women (AAUW) Doctoral Scholarship

Cara Jones, 2012
Jessica Ketcham Weber, 2008

Tom W. Dutton Scholarship Award

Jessica Ketcham Weber, 2007

Harvey Jay and Betty Adele Jacobs Schwartzberg Fellowship

Anna Wilson, 2012
Emily Nemens, 2011


Creative Writing Awards

(Please also see the Creative Writing Awards page for descriptions of each award)



Robert Penn Warren MFA Thesis Award

Our most coveted Creative Writing Award, this recognizes the best MFA thesis in memory of our former LSU colleague, the author and literary theorist Professor Robert Penn Warren, co-founder and editor of The Southern Review.


Robert Howell (Fiction) and MK Brake (Poetry), 2016
Emily Nemens (Fiction) and Dylan Krieger (Poetry), 2015
Lee Tyler Williams and Jacqueline Kari, 2014
Sean Green and Adam Atkinson, 2013
Afton Wilky and Alison Grifa, 2012
William Burke and Lauren Tussing-White, 2011
Jennifer Tamayo and Tyler Smith, 2010
Kristin Sanders and Jennifer Nunes, 2009
Shane Noecker, 2008
Bobbi Parry and Frank W. Hardie, 2007

Kent Gramm MFA Award for Nonfiction

M.K. Brake for “The Children’s Book: An Essay.” 2016.
Muriel Leung for “Lamentation of Failed Objects. 2015.
Anthony Ramstetter for “Music and Musicality.” 2014
Adam Atkinson for “Teen Wolf.” 2013
Emily Nemens for “The Unfinished Grid: A Personal History of Art in New York,” 2012
James Claffey for “Scenes from a Receding Irish Life.” 2011
David Newman for “Flight Plan.” 2010
Shelby Goddard for “The Great State of Jefferson.” 2009
Shane Noecker for “Rainbow Lane.” 2008
Craig Brandhorst for “Noble Rot.” 2007  

David Madden MFA Award for Fiction

Amy Rossi, “Look Away, Look Closer,” 2016.
Hannah Read, “Pinions and Plumage,” 2015.
Hannah Reed for “Three Encounters on Balsa.” 2014
Hannah Reed for “The Shape of Milagrom.” 2013
Lee Tyler Williams for “Leechdom: A Daybrook of the Colony.” 2012
John David Harding for “Improvising.” 2011
John David Harding for “Giving Sister Away.” 2010
Shelby Goddard for “Minor Tragedies.” 2009
Jane Stubbs for “Poker Night.” 2008
Bret Anthony Johnston, for “Hot Box.” 2007

William Jay Smith MFA Award for Poetry

Laura Theobald, “[You predicted the hell out of me].” 2016
Muriel Leung, “Paradise in a Fevered Dream.” 2015
Jacqueline Kari for “A Murder Ballad: The Two Brothers, 49A, 49B, and 49C.” 2014
Emily Nemens for “Some Facts about Sculptors.” 2013
Aeron Kopriva for “E Muet.” 2012
Benjamin Pelhan for “Afternoons.” 2011
Jennifer Tamayo for “Permanent Resident Card.” 2010
Kristin Sanders for “This Poem is not Sad, nor is it Lonely.” 2009
Penelope Dane for “Lesbian Potential.” 2008
Claire Dixon for “10th Grade Math Lessons at Myrtle Scott’s House.” 2007


Ruth Elizabeth McClain Cassidy MFA Award for Screenwriting 

Amy Rossi, Tomorrow We May Still Be Here. 2016
Bill Moran (2015) Stargazer. 2015  
Alyson Pomerantz for Beyle, 2014
Rachel Van Sickle for Making a Miracle, 2012
Rachel Van Sickle for As Good As Dead, 2011
Taylor Smith for Kudzu Boy—Episode 101 (Pilot), 2010
Jane Stubbs for The Somnambulist, 2009
Stephanie Nash for Morte D’Arthur: Dragon’s Crown, 2008
Frank W. Hardie for Against the Spread, 2007

Romulus Linney MFA Award for Playwriting 

Jacqueline Kari for Gin Mill: An Impossible Play. 2014
Sarah Maxwell for In the Middle at the Super 8. 2013
Jenny Lentz Brosseau for A House Divided. 2012
Adam Atkinson for Big Forest. 2011
Susan Kirby-Smith for Game On. 2010
Susan Kirby-Smith for Household. 2009

Teaching Awards


Department of English Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award 

Maggie Callahan and Cristina Rossell, 2016
Megan Feifer, 2015
Jaime Cantrell, 2014
David Riche, 2013
Kevin Casper and Kris Mecholsky, 2012
Laura Helen Marks, 2011
Corrie Kiesel, 2010
Jennifer West, 2009
Alison Graham-Bertolini, 2008
Jessica Ketcham Weber, 2007
Lisa Costello, 2006
Erica Locklear, 2005
Terri Ruckel, 2004
Margaret Clark, 2003
Nat Hardy, 2002

College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award

Corrie Kiesel, 2010
Jennifer West, 2009
Alison Graham-Bertolini, 2008


LSU Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award

Jordan Von Cannon, 2015
David Riche, 2014
Laura Marks, 2013
Kevin Casper, 2012
Kristi Melancon, 2010
Casey Kayser, 2009
Jennifer West, 2008

Sarah Liggett Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award

Awarded annually by the English Graduate Student Association, this prize honors Professor Sarah Liggett, Director of Communication across the Curriculum and formerly Director of University Writing.

Vicki Davis, 2016
Michael Von Cannon, 2015
Matt Dischinger, 2014
Cara Jones and David Riche, 2013
Amanda Wicks, 2012
Erin Breaux, 2011
Laura Marks, 2010
Jennifer West, 2009
Dan Mangiavellano, 2008
Sean Flory, 2007