Essay prize win for Aberdeen student

An Aberdeen student has won a prestigious essay prize from the leading society for American studies in the UK.

Final-year PhD student, David Rennie has been awarded the annual prize from the British Association for American Studies for the best essay-length piece of work on an American Studies topic written by a student currently registered for a postgraduate degree at a UK university.

David, 26, from Aberdeen, specialises in American literature from the First World War period, which he describes as a ‘key moment in the evolution of US literature’.

“This period is instrumental in shaping the overall landscape of American writing. Many of the heralded writers of the 20th century including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner first made their mark in the 1920s, however the period before this was instrumental in shaping their development as authors,” David said.

“Despite this, it is an area quite often neglected, which makes it a wonderful opportunity for study.”

David, who also completed his undergraduate degree at Aberdeen and hopes to become an academic, was awarded the prize for his essay ‘In the Fields of Democracy: the Midwest in World War I’.

It is based on research that he has completed during his work towards a PhD on American Literature of the First World War which he plans to finish later this year.

David added: “I am delighted to be the winner of the 2016 British Association of American Studies Postgraduate Essay Award. I intend to use the £500 prize money to travel to the Ernest Hemingway Society Conference taking place in Oak Park, Illinois later this year.”

He is supervised by the American Literature scholar Dr Hazel Hutchison in the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen.

She said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for David to win this prize, which always attracts the best young scholars in American Studies across the UK. This success will also draw attention to his innovative research on little-known US writers from the First World War.”