Graduate Student Conference Presentation Prize


The CACLALS Graduate Student Conference Presentation Prizes for studies in Commonwealth literature / postcolonial 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. All three finalists will also receive a one-year free membership to CACLALS, a two-year free subscription to the refereed journal Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne as well as the opportunity to have their paper published in said journal. The winner, additionally, receives a prize of $100 while the runners-up receive $25 each.

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 the submission requirements will be the same as they are for any other proposal submission. All graduate submissions will be considered for the prize unless otherwise indicated by the student in the proposal. In order to have their papers considered for presentation as finalists or as regular participants, graduate student members must have their CACLALS membership paid in full. 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 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

  • the originality and overall excellence of the scholarship reflected in the proposal, which may or may not be explicitly related to the conference theme
  • the quality of the writing (including style, clarity, and persuasiveness of argument)
  • the interest of the subject matter and approach
  • the likelihood of the proposed presentation being developed into a print or digital publication, and
  • the suitability for conference presentation (including appropriate length)
  • Please note that in fairness to other entrants, proposals that are over the specified word limit may 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

  • quality of voice in delivery (appropriate speed and volume, and liveliness/enthusiasm of presentation)
  • ability to interest conference audience
  • keeping to time, and
  • 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, as well as through CACLALS’ social media platforms. Judges’ names would also accompany information about the prizewinners.