Graduate Student Conference Presentation Prizes


The CACLALS Graduate Student Conference Presentation Prizes for studies in Commonwealth/ postcolonial literature and/or language, orature, or cultural studies are normally awarded to three graduate students presenting at the annual CACLALS conference at Congress, one for the best paper and two for runners-up.

The prizes

All 3 finalists will be awarded a certificate (usable for jobs, postdoctoral fellowships, admission to further studies, etc.); have their papers showcased in a special panel at the annual conference (a great way to get graduate student work known by senior Canadian and other scholars in the area, the people who sit on hiring, fellowship, and admission committees); and have their names and presentation titles listed on the CACLALS website. Additional prizes tied to the annual Commonwealth Writers Prize competition will be as follows:

First prize: a copy of the most recent Commonwealth Book Prize winner and, when not the same book, the winner in the Canada and Europe region
Two runners-up: a copy of the most recent Commonwealth Book Prize or the winner in the Canada and Europe region.

The call

The call for graduate student proposals will go out with the general call for papers for the annual conference in the fall and be circulated to cognate Canadian organizations such as ACCUTE (Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English, ACQL (Association of Canadian and Quebec Literatures), CALA (Canadian Applied Literature Association), and CACS (Canadian Association of Cultural Studies); to the chairs of ACLALS regional branches for circulation to their membership; and to the chairs of Canadian graduate English programs. Submissions for the prize will only be accepted from paid-up graduate student members of CACLALS, and papers should be deliverable in not more than 20-minutes (i.e. should not exceed 10 double-spaced pages in 14-point font).

To be eligible for any prize, students must present at the CACLALS conference. As the SSHRC grant to scholarly associations to aid travel has been discontinued, CACLALS regrets that it may may no longer be able to reimburse any portion of transportation expenses. Graduate students are encouraged to seek funding from their supervisors who have SSHRC funding, their departments, and/or their College/Faculty of Graduate Studies. CACLALS aims to announce the judges for the prize at the time of the CFP.

Criteria for selection of panelists for the prize-winning panel

a) the originality and overall excellence of the scholarship reflected in the proposal, which may or may not be explicitly related to the conference theme
b) the quality of the writing (including style, clarity, and persuasiveness of argument)
c) the interest of the subject matter and approach and likelihood of its being developed into a print or digital publication
d) the suitability for conference presentation (including appropriate length)

Please note that in fairness to other entrants, proposals that are over the specified word limit will automatically be disqualified.


Three faculty members, at least two from the CACLALS executive and, where possible, one prominent member of the regular membership will adjudicate the entries, selecting three finalists.

Criteria for final selection of prize-winners

In addition to judging the papers as delivered on the basis of the criteria for the selection of prize-winning panelists, the oral presentations will be further assessed for

a) quality of voice in delivery (appropriate speed and volume, and liveliness/enthusiasm of presentation)
b) ability to interest conference audience
c) keeping to time, and
d) ability to answer questions and respond to comments from those attending the session.

Announcement of winners

Winners will be announced and presented with their prizes at the CACLALS AGM and then more broadly announced by posting names and paper titles to the CACLALS website. Judges’ names would also accompany information about the prizewinners.