The IAAS is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2015 WTM Riches Essay Prize is Ciarán Kavanagh, a Masters student at University College Cork. The WTM Riches Prize is an annual prize, was established in 2004 to recognise and reward high-quality work being done by younger scholars in many of the areas that are covered by the term “American Studies,” including history, politics, literature, film, geography, the visual arts, architecture, and cultural / critical theory.

In a particularly impressive field of essays, all of which were deemed by the judges to be excellent and thoroughly enjoyable, Ciarán’s essay, “Diagnosing Kurt Vonnegut: A Response to Susanne Vees-Gulani on the Subject of Slaughterhouse-Five”, was commended for its clear and strongly articulated argument. In particular, the judges noted its close reading alongside a subtle critique of the way in which psychiatric categories are applied to literary tropes.

Wishing to acknowledge the high quality of the essays submitted, the judges also wish to give honourable mentions to the following students: Luke Monaghan (University College Dublin), for his informed and strongly conceived essay on Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative; Kelsie Donnelly (Queen’s University Belfast) for her cogent and contextually sophisticated reading of Don DeLillo’s Point Omega; and Martha Hegarty (University College Cork) for her polished and adeptly contextualised essay on works by Willem de Kooning. Congratulations to all concerned.

The prize of €100 in book vouchers (as well as the chance to revise the essay for publication in the Irish Journal of American Studies) will be awarded at the IAAS Postgraduate Symposium, held at the Clinton Institute on the 28th November.