Student Essay Contest

2017’s winner announced! Watch this space for the 2018 deadline.

Graduate students (both master’s and doctoral students) are invited to compete in the 2017 graduate student essay category with submissions between 3000 and 7500 words. The winning essay will be considered for publication in Doris Lessing Studies, and the winning writer will be awarded one free year of membership to the Doris Lessing Society.

All essays should follow current MLA conventions. Professors are invited to nominate essays written for courses in 2017, or students may submit their work independently. All essays should be sent by e-mail as Word document attachments by 28 February to

Submissions will be accepted from current students and recent graduates (no earlier than 2015). Please contact us if you have any questions about your eligibility.

Previous Student Essay Contest Winners

Graduate Student Essay Contest Winner 2017

Selcuk Senturk

Selcuk Senturk is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Leicester. His winning essay is titled “The Representation of Non-Normative Family and Kinship: Sufi Family and Sufi Parenthood in The Memoirs of a Survivor and Ben, in the World.”

Graduate Student Essay Contest Winner 2016

Stephanie Settle

Stephanie Settle is a student at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Her winning essay is titled “Power to Disturb: Exploring Selected Works of Doris Lessing Through the Critical Lens of Queer Theory.” Her revised essay was published in vol. 35 of Doris Lessing Studies as “‘Power to Disturb’: Exploring Iterations of Queerness in Selected Works of Doris Lessing” (2017).

Graduate Student Essay Contest Winner 2015

Kortney Stern

Kortney Stern is a second year MA student at Mills College, Oakland, CA. Her winning essay is titled “The (De)fetishization of the Aged Body: Clothing, Use Value, and Invisibility in Doris Lessing’s The Diary of a Good Neighbour.” Her revised essay was published in vol. 34 of Doris Lessing Studies as “Becoming Jane Somers: Constructing Authorship, Genre, and Age in The Diary of a Good Neighbour” (2016).

Graduate Student Essay Contest Winner 2012

Kerry Myler

Kerry Myler is a lecturer in English at Newman University College, Birmingham. Her PhD examined Doris Lessing’s engagement with R. D. Laing, and she is currently reworking this into a monograph on Lessing, the anti-psychiatry movement, and gendered embodiment. Kerry is an executive member of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association. Her winning essay, titled “Madness and Mothering in The Four-Gated City,” was revised and published in Doris Lessing Studies, vol. 31 (2013) as “‘Something New’: Madness and Mothering in The Four-Gated City.”