ALCS Undergraduate Dissertation Prize and Essay Prize 2022

Congratulations to the winners of the ALCS Prizes 2022!

This year’s ALCS UG Dissertation prize went to Gemma Blacker (University of Sheffield). The ALCS Essay Prize was awarded to Lydia Cope (University of Sheffield).

Gemma Blacker — Toon Tellegen’s Transnational Transfer: How a Dutch Author Crossed International, Linguistic, and Gender Boundaries

Toon Tellegen (1941), Dutch author and poet who specialises in children’s literature, has been publishing works since 1984. A best-seller and one of the Netherlands’ most-translated authors, Tellegen has won countless awards and is heralded as a “genius” for his philosophical animal stories, covering topics from friendship to greed, low self-esteem to loneliness. Whilst Tellegen has been, and continues to be, a great success abroad, his work is of particular interest in Russia. Of the 30 different languages in which Tellegen’s work has been published, Russian has the highest number of translations and is responsible for 15% of all translations of his work. Considering Dutch provides just under 1% of the world’s source of translated titles, this number of translations into Russian from a single author is striking.

Blacker’s dissertation aims to uncover the reasons for Tellegen’s successful transnational transfer to Russia and establish the links between two geographically, linguistically and culturally very distinct countries. Specifically, it focuses on the following questions: Who have been the main actors in Tellegen’s successful transnational transfer to Russia? What is the role of the translator and how has the Russian language influenced her decisions in her depictions of gender?  How can Tellegen be compared to comparatively-popular Russian children’s authors in their depictions of stereotypical gender roles?

Lydia Cope — How the sense of belonging to a nation is shaped and mediated through family ties in Johan Fretz’s Onder de Paramariboom

In Lydia Cope’s essay we see to what extent the sense of belonging to a nation is shaped and mediated through blood ties. Through an analysis of Johan Fretz’s novel Onder de Paramariboom (2018), Cope argues that the concept of ‘nation’ is complex: it is not synonymous with ‘country’ but is rather a mental construct, much deeper and more personal in meaning. The novel’s protagonist, Johannes Fretz, demonstrates this idea on his journey in self-discovery. Born and raised in the Netherlands, he had always rejected his association with Suriname, the birthplace of his mother, and regarded himself as a Dutchman. However, on turning twenty-nine he finally decides to visit Suriname, where his mother is finally given the opportunity to share her culture as well as introduce her son to other Surinamese relatives. Here, Johannes gradually starts to identify with his mother, grandfather Miel and his father, all of whom have a great influence on Johannes and his perceptions of nation both directly and indirectly.



ALCS Essay Prizes 2021

Congratulations to the winners of the ALCS Essay Prize 2021!

Postgraduate/Early Career Prize

Irving Wolters (UCL)
Irving Wolters (UCL)

Bibliotheca Neerlandica

The winner of the Postgraduate/Early Career Prize is Irving Wolters from UCL, with his essay ‘Genesis of the Canon of Dutch Literature: The Bibliotheca Neerlandica?’

Although the canon of Dutch literature was not officially digitalized until 2002, this paper presents a view that a Dutch initiative in the 1950s and 60s may have been a genesis of canon building through translation sixty years ahead of its time.In the 1950s the Dutch government established an organisation called the Stichting ter Bevordering van de Vertaling van Nederlands Letterkundig Werk. This foundation was served by a commissioning body whose role it was to consider and select titles available to them from the Netherlands and Flanders. Irvin uses minutes of the commissioning body’s meetings obtained from the Letterkundig Museum in The Hague to research this. 

This year there were two winners of the Undergraduate Prize: Megan Strutt from the University of Sheffield and Anna Mihlic from UCL.

Megan Strutt (Sheffield)
Megan Strutt (Sheffield)

Guus Kuijer

In Megan’s essay, ‘Emancipation, Power and Religion in Guus Kuijer’s Het boek van alle dingen’, we see the tensions between tradition and modernity in the Orthodox-Protestant family of Kuijer’s nine-year-old protagonist, Thomas Klopper. Although the typical 1950’s family is often referred to as exemplary of ‘family values’, with women perceived as “mothers and homemakers”,  there were also discernible murmurings of women’s liberation at the time; hints of the second wave of feminism that was to emerge in the sixties.

Kuijer’s text explores the effects of a changing societal mood on Thomas’s fundamentally religious family, and Megan’s paper considers how this is represented through the relationship between the themes of emancipation and power.

Language Attitudes in Wallonia

Anna Mihlic (UCL)
Anna Mihlic (UCL)

In Anna’s essay, ‘Language Attitudes in Wallonia towards English and Dutch’, we see how languages in Belgium have an important symbolic value, which is linked to the social, economic, political and cultural history of the country and to the contemporary division into different regions. In this paper she explores the attitudes towards and the values associated with Dutch and English as foreign languages among university students in the French-speaking part of Belgium.

Reflecting on previous literature, Anna’s research examines the following questions: How do language attitudes towards Dutch and English differ in Wallonia? What are the implicit and explicit attitudes towards the two languages and to what extent do these differ?

ALCS Essay Prize Winners 2020!

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Undergraduate and Postgraduate ALCS Dutch Essay Prize. We had contributions from a range of disciplines, ranging from Low Countries history and political culture, to translation studies and Dutch and Flemish literature.

The ALCS PG Prize was awarded to Irving Wolters for his enjoyable essay on the relative success of choices translators make, and the influence of other players on their work, with a case study of Marriage/Ordeal by Gerard Walschap translated by Alex Brotherton. The jury deemed the essay scholarly, informative, and a very interesting discussion of some very knotty translation issues.

We had several excellent contenders for the ALCS UG Prize. After some deliberation, the prize was awarded to UCL BA Dutch and French finalist Alice Learmouth for her concise and well-focussed essay on the peculiarities of Dutch political culture. Our panel thought much was achieved in a relatively short essay, which was mature and well-developed. Learmouth discusses the topic from the perspective of pillarization and provides arguments for and against the influence of pillarization on policies towards ethnic minorities in the Netherlands.

Congratulations to Irving Wolters and Alice Learmouth from the whole of the ALCS community! We would also like to thank all other contenders for their contributions and hard work and would like to wish everyone a rewarding summer break.

Winners of ALCS Essay Prize 2016

Our ALCS reader panel is usually enthusiastic about the undergraduate and postgraduate entries for our annual ALCS Essay Prize, but this year they cracked: instead of one, they awarded two undergraduate prizes, one for a literary paper and one for a linguistic one.

This is a first in the history of our Essay Prize and we are therefore proud to not only announce the winners, but also to publish their work on our website.

Together with the excellent postgraduate paper by Kasper Swerts, the essay prize 2016 is a testimony to the strength and the breadth of Dutch Studies: history, politics, philosophy, literature, linguistics, it is all there.

Thank you to all entrants for their essays and a special thanks for our panel of readers for their hard work and expert verdict!

SchaefferUndergraduate Winner: Mathias Schäffer (Sheffield), ‘The presence of the absent mother in Gerbrand Bakker’s Perenbomen bloeien wit

Jury’s comments:
‘A very interesting topic and a good amount of research has gone into the essay. It is a well-structured, very readable essay that takes account of the reader and provides enough information in order for the reader to understand the issues fully.’

Postgraduate Winner: Kasper Swerts (PhD Edinburgh),
‘A Flemish Nozdormu? Teleology and Philosophy of history in the writings of Hendrik Jozef Elias’

Jury’s comments:
‘Swerts argues convincingly that in his political choices the Flemish politician and nationalist historian Hendrik Elias was guided – or misguided – by his highly particular philosophy of history. A sophisticated essay and an excellent read.’

Kasper Swerts has been invited to submit his essay for publication in Dutch Crossing.

BobbyjonesUndergraduate Runner Up: Robert Jones (Sheffield), ‘Tweetalig onderwijs: Effective education or pointless pedagogy?’

Jury’s comments:
‘This is a well researched essay with a clear academic approach to the topic. Interesting issues are discussed in a clear and balanced way. Excellent use of background literature.’

ALCS Essay Prize 2015

Our ALCS expert panel of readers was delighted with yet another impressive haul of essay entries for the yearly ALCS Essay prize. This year the undergraduate entries covered subjects such as literary translation; Verkavelingsvlaams; language policy in the Dutch East-Indies; literary representation of Nazi concentration camps; WOII Belgian collaborators as represented in the works of Erwin Mortier; representation of religion and authority in literature, to name but a few.

Orla RandlesAfter extensive deliberation the panel decided on one linguistic and one literary winner. The Undergraduate Prize was awarded to Orla Randles (Sheffield, BA German with Dutch, image right) for her excellent essay ‘Straattaal: A Threat to Standard Dutch?’

The postgraduate entries were again of a high standard but the clear winner was Ruth Clemens (UCL, MA Comparative Literature) for her impressive essay ‘Becoming-Imperceptible in Cees Nooteboom’s The Following Story and Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman’. The full essay can be read on Ruth Clemens is now pursuing a PhD in comparative literature at Leeds Trinity University.