Third-year English-Writing student Sarah Olivo has won the 2021-2022 Department of English Essay Prize. Each year, the prize of a $200 gift card to Epic Books in Hamilton is awarded to the student who writes the best essay in an English course. Olivo shows how the protagonists in James Joyce’s The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man and T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” both “embody some essential part of the spirit of modernism,” namely, through experiencing a crisis of identity within a fragmented, uncertain world. Joyce and Eliot do not provide definitive solutions to these problems, which leaves readers “only with the hope or possibility of eventual reconciliation.” In recommending Olivo for the prize, professor emerita of English Dr. Deborah Bowen noted that she writes about the challenges and complexities of modernist texts with sophistication and clarity.
By way of honourable mention, the English Department would also like to recognize Magdalaina Teeuwsen for her essay “Ties That Bind: Elements of Sisterhood in The Rez Sisters.” Teeuwsen demonstrates how Tomson Highway’s play “offers an image of sisterhood that is at once particular and universal, demonstrating relationships between women that are founded in survival and based on elements of difference and mutual love and respect.”