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 comparatists and to honor the memory of Professor Anna Balakian, a well-known comparatist.

The 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.

For the period 2019 to 2022, the jury will be chaired by Professor E.V. Ramakrishnan (India). The jury has the task, together with the members of the Bureau of the AILC-ICLA, to consider candidates and select the winner.

Rules of submission (2022 Prize; rules and deadlines for the 2025 prize will be announced in due course)

(1) Books published between January 2019 and December 2021 will be eligible for the 2022 Prize. The deadline for submissions is: 31 January 2022. The name of the winner will be announced by the first week of May 2022, and the Prize will be awarded at the 2022 Congress.

(2) Eligible books must be a doctoral thesis of an author under the age of 40 at the time of publication of the book. Submitted books must be part of a 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 centered on a single national literature are not eligible.

(3) 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 2,000 words.

(4) An author may be a candidate him- or herself, preferably on the recommendation of a former thesis supervisor or a renowned comparator. Any member of the ICLA may nominate candidates for the Prize. However, it is the sole responsibility of the author to send three copies of the book, one printed and two copies photocopied. (If an electronic version is available, that is acceptable.) If letters of recommendation have been solicited by the candidates, they must be submitted in triplicate at the same time as the book. The Chair of the Prize Committee must be in possession of all documents by 31 January 2022. The author must also provide a fixed mailing address and a valid e-mail address. In principle, the books will not be returned; they will be donated either to a library or to a scientific organization in the field concerned.

(5) The winner will be invited to attend the AILC Congress in order to receive the Prize. Travel expenses will be reimbursed by the AILC-ICLA up to a maximum of US $ 1,000.

Interested candidates are kindly requested to send an email to the Chair of the Jury, Professor E.V. Ramakrishnan (, before despatching the book/monograph.

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)