The Graduate Teaching Committee is pleased to announce the top submissions of this year’s Reading and Composition Essay Competition. Winners in each category will receive a $100 prize to recognize their achievements. Essays by the winners and honorable mentions will also be added to an archive of successful work made available to current R&C students. Join us in congratulating the students and instructors listed below!  

Also, many, many thanks to our panel of volunteer judges: Howard Fisher, Tom McEnaney, Ellen Oliensis, Tara Phillips, and Thomas Sliwowski. We couldn’t have made it happen without their generous support, careful eyes, and deliberate judgment!


Close Reading Winner

Mira Chaplin, “Stranded on the Shores of Self: Isolation and Individualism in Jonathan Franzen’s ‘Farther Away’”

Instructors: Alex Brostoff and Marlena Gittleman

Research Winner

Adriana Weiss, “Monumental Invisibility and Teju Cole’s Intervention in Open City”

Instructors: Emily Laskin and Kyle Ralston

Close Reading Honorable Mentions

Rachel Camarena, “Which Side of Paradise?: Truth and Fiction in Fun Home”

Instructor: Mary Mussman

Michelle Gong, “Sookee and Hideko’s Love: A Space of Transcendence, Transformation, and Rewriting”

Instructors: Laura Wagner and Lo Ferris

Research Honorable Mentions

Saba Moussavian, “The Production of Beyoncé: Formation through Exploitation”

Instructors: Alex Brostoff and Marlena Gittleman

Sarah Reeves, “Beyond the Binary: Queering Passing by Nella Larsen”

Instructors: Alex Brostoff and Marlena Gittleman