Balakian Prize

The Anna Balakian Prize

As outlined in the Bulletin of the International Association of Comparative Literature (AILC-ICLA), vol. 22.2, the Anna Balakian Prize was officially announced on August 14, 2004, as part of the XVII AILC-ICLA Congress in Hong Kong. The prize, in the amount of US $ 1,000, comes from a joint donation from the family of Anna Balakian and the Friends of the AILC-ICLA. Its purpose is to promote the scientific research of young

Submissions are invited from eligible authors for the award of the Anna Balakian Prize 2025.

The Anna Balakian Prize is presented at the Triennial Congress of the ICLA, in order to reward an exceptional first monograph in the field of comparative literary studies, written by a single author who has not attained the age of 40 years. The prize, in the amount of U.S.$ 1000, comes from a joint donation from the family of Anna Balakian and the Friends of the AILC-ICLA. Its purpose is to promote the scientific research of the young comparatists and to honour the memory of Professor Anna Balakian, a reputed comparatist.

The rules of submission for the 2025 Prize are outlined below:

  1. Books published between the first of January, 2022 and the 31st of December, 2024 will be eligible for the 2025 Prize. The deadline for submission is 31st January, 2025.
  1. Eligible books must be a doctoral thesis of an author under the age of forty at the time of the publication of the book. Submitted books must evidence the use of literary criticism approach. They will examine, from a comparative perspective, subjects such as: aesthetics or literary poetics, literature and the arts, literary movements, historical or biographical influences in literature, reciprocal contributions between regional or national literature, literary criticism on an international level. Studies devoted mainly to notions of ethnicity and monographs centred on a single national literature are not eligible.
  1. Books that are not written in English or French, the official languages of the AILC-ICLA, must be accompanied by a summary in English or French of at least 2000 words.
  1. An author who fulfils the above criteria may submit the book herself, preferably with a recommendation from the former thesis supervisor, or a renowned comparatist. Any member of the ICLA may nominate the candidates for the Prize.
  1. The author will send three copies of the book. One printed copy must be sent to the Chair of the jury. An electronic copy may be sent to each of the the other two Jury members. The Chair of the Prize Committee should receive the book along with all documents by the 31st January, 2025. The author’s mailing address and email address should be legibly mentioned in the covering letter.
  1. The name of the winner will be announced by the first week of May 2025 and the the Prize will be handed over to the candidate at the 2025 Congress. The winner will be invited to attend the AILC-ICLA Congress in order to receive the Prize. Travel expenses reimbursed by the AILC-ICLA upto a maximum of US $1000.

Interested candidates are kindly requested to send an email to the Chair of the Jury, Professor E.V.Ramakrishnan (evrama51@gmail.com), regarding any queries related to the submission of entries for the Anna Balakian Prize 2025 Prize.

Members of The Jury:

The Chair of the Jury is Professor E.V.Ramakrishnan from India. He is Professor Emeritus, Central University of Gujarat. He was Vice-President of AILC-IClA during 2019-2022 and a member of its Executive Council between 2013 and 2019. He has also been the President of the Comparative Literature Association of India (CLAI) from 2017 to 2023. He is a well-known bilingual writer who has published several books in Malayalam and English, in the areas of Comparative Literature, Translation Studies, Post-colonial Studies, Culture Studies and Diaspora Studies. He has won Sahitya Akademi Award, the highest literary award given to an author by the Government of India.

The two members of the Jury are: Professor Rita Terezinha Schmidt, Professor in Literature and Linguistics at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and Prof. Wen-chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London.

Professor Rita T. Schmidt has been a member of the AILC-ICLA Executive since 2019. Her areas of research include feminist theories, decolonial perspectives in Latin American and Brazilian literary historiography, particularly of the XIX century, by means of re-editions of novels and works of poetry. She also works in the areas of American Literature, Theory and Comparative Literature. Email: ritaschmidt51@gmail.com

Professor Wen-Chin Ouyang is Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London. She is Fellow of the British Academy and Academician of Academia Sinica. A native speaker of Arabic and Chinese, she has been working towards Arabic-Chinese comparative literary and cultural studies, including Silk and Road Studies. Email: wo@soas.ac.uk.

Information on the selection process

(a) The Chair of the Prize Committee will acknowledge receipt of the books (or book and photocopies) and forward them to the members of the jury. A copy of this acknowledgement will be sent to the President of AILC-ICLA at the same time.

(b) The members of the jury will be able to consult with relevant experts, for example if the book is written in a language they do not read fluently. These expert opinions will remain confidential.

(c) The members of the jury shall decide by a majority of votes.

(d) When the jury members have nominated the recipient, they will write a report detailing the merits of the book. This report will be submitted to the President and Secretaries of the ICLA at least three months prior to the next ICLA Congress. The winner will be informed within the same deadline. The report will be read at the award ceremony and will be available on the AILC-ICLA website.


The Winner of the 2022 Anna Balakian Prize is:

May Hawas, Politicising World Literature: Egypt, Between Pedagogy and the Public.

Joseph Cermatori’s Baroque Modernity: An Aesthetics of Theater receives an honourable mention.

Click here to read more about the books and the jury’s decision.


Previous Winners

2007  Line Henriksen, Ambition and Anxiety: Ezra Pound’s Cantos and Derek Walcott’s Omeros as Twentieth-Century Epics (New York: Rodopi, 2006)

2010  Karen L. Thornber, Empire of Texts in Motion: Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations of Japanese Literature (Cambridge, MA: Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series, 2009)

Hans-Joachim Backe, Stukturen und Funktionen des Erzählens im Computerspiel: Eine typologische Einführung (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2008)

2013  Aurélia Hetzel, La reine de Saba: Des Traditions au mythe littéraire (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2012) (winner)

Shun-liang Chao, Rethinking the Concept of the Grotesque: Crashaw, Baudelaire, Magritte (Oxford: Legenda/Routledge, 2010) (honourable mention)

2016 Alexandra Berlina, Brodsky Translating Brodsky: Poetry in Self-Translation (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014)

2019  Shuangyi Li, Proust, China and Intertextual Engagement: Translation and Transcultural Dialogue (London: Palgrave, 2017) (winner)

Maya Boutaghou, Occidentalismes, romans historiques postcoloniaux et identités nationales au XIXe siècle : Juan Antonio Mateos, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Markus Clarke, Jurji Zaydan (Paris: Honoré Champion éditeur, 2016) (honourable mention)