The Raymond Williams Society postgraduate essay competition for work grounded in the tradition of cultural materialism is named in honour of our late and much-missed colleague, Simon Dentith (1952-2014), former editor of Key Words and prize judge.


The aim is to encourage a new generation of scholars working in the tradition of cultural materialism, especially those whose research is rooted in the work of Raymond Williams. It is a competition open to anyone studying for a higher degree (masters or doctoral) in the UK or elsewhere, or who graduated no earlier than 31 July 2018. The prize is £100 and a year’s subscription to the Society. The winning essay will be published in the academic journal Key Words (subject to peer review).

Entries should be 5-7,000 words in length, including endnotes, which should normally be kept to a minimum. Entries must follow the Key Words Style Notes for contributors. The Style Notes can be found here.

Entries should be sent by email to Dr Emily Cuming, Liverpool John Moores University:

They should be accompanied by a brief coversheet with the following details:

Postal address
Email address
Institutional affiliation
Current or most recent programme of study
Date of graduation (if applicable)
Title of essay
Word count

Please ask your supervisor to send us an email confirming your status. We also request that you confirm the article is not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

The closing date for entries is 15th December 2020.

Previous winners

2019: Charlie Pullen (Queen Mary University of London), ‘”Childish Things”: Marion Richardson, Modernism, and the Teaching of Creativity’.

2018: Matti Ron (University of East Anglia), ‘An uneasy avant-garde: the politics of formal experimentation in 1930s working-class fiction’.

2017: Ryan David Furlong (University of Iowa), ‘”White Slaves” as “Black Slaves”: Re-evaluating the 19th c. Working-Class Autobiography within the (Con)texts of Transatlantic Abolitionism’.

2016: Laura McCormick Kilbride (University of Cambridge), ‘The New Catholic Left: Language, Liturgy and Literature in Slant Magazine, 1964-1970’

2015: Owen Holland (University of Cambridge), ‘From the Place Vendome to Trafalgar Square: Imperialism and Counter-Hegemony in the 1880s Romance Revival’

2013: Jennifer Morgan (University of Salford), ‘Uses of Shelley in Working-Class Culture’

2012: Chris Witter (Lancaster University) ‘Grace Paley and the Tenement Pastoral’

2010: Simon Machin (Roehampton University), ‘Why, comrade?: Raymond Williams, Orwell and Structure of Feeling in Boys’ Story Papers’