The winner of this year’s prize is Annabel Williams’s “Fantasias on National Themes: Fantasy, Space, and Imperialism in Rebecca West.” The judge is Wai Chee Dimock, William Lampson Professor of English and American Studies at Yale University and editor of PMLA. Her books include Residues of Justice: Literature, Law, Philosophy (1996), Through Other Continents: American Literature across Deep Time (2006), Shades of the Planet (2007), and a team-edited anthology, American Literature in the World: Anne Bradstreet to Octavia Butler (2017). Other writings have appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Chronicle of Higher Education. Her new book, Weak Planet: Literature and Assisted Survival (2020), was just published.

This year’s winning essay, “Fantasias on National Themes: Fantasy, Space, and Imperialism in Rebecca West,” is exemplary in more ways than one. It makes a...

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