6 January 2013

The Katherine Mansfield Society is pleased to announce the winner of its fourth international essay competition, on the theme of ‘Katherine Mansfield and the (Post)colonial’.  The judges, Professor Elleke Boehmer (Professor of World Literature, University of Oxford), Dr Simone Oettli (Chargée d'enseignement, University of Geneva) and Professor Janet Wilson (Vice Chair, KMS, Professor of English and Postcolonial Studies, University of Northampton), agreed on the winner unanimously from a wide field of excellent entries.

The winning essay is by Aimee Gasston. The abstract of her essay, ‘Katherine Mansfield, Cannibal’, argues that Mansfield engaged with concepts of barbarism throughout her career and displayed a particular fascination with cannibalism that held both political and aesthetic significance for her. The article traces Mansfield’s transition from ‘a negative cannibalism of revenge’ towards a ‘tender anthropophagy of incorporation’. Gasston claims that this transition allowed Mansfield to transgress displacement and find a route to her most accomplished work by returning from Europe to New Zealand through fiction.

Aimee Gasston is a PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London, researching the modernist short story with a focus on Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield. A member of the New Zealand Studies Network (UK and Ireland) she also read a paper on Katherine Mansfield at the Network’s inaugural conference, ‘New Zealand’s Cultures: Sources, Histories, Futures’ held at Birkbeck, 6-7 July 2012. She will receive a prize of £200, and her essay will appear in the annual journal, Katherine Mansfield Studies (Volume 5), to be published in October 2013 by Edinburgh University Press (sent free to all members of the Katherine Mansfield Society).