The Society created the biennial Rooke Memorial Prize in 2002 to encourage the study of Italian language and culture at British and Irish universities both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The awards were made possible by the generous bequest of a long-standing British-Italian Society member, the late Rosemary Rooke.
In 2019 the Society relaunched the awards as the British-Italian Society Prizes
Any university or academic institution in the UK or Ireland may submit one candidate in each category following a preselection process conducted by their Department of Italian Studies or equivalent. Undergraduates submit a final year essay (up to 5,000 words) or dissertation (up to 10,000 words). Postgraduate entrants submit a dissertation or a chapter of an MPhil or PhD thesis (up to 20,000 words). The entries may be submitted in English or Italian. The subject matter is confined to the humanities and social sciences relating to Italy from the Middle Ages to the present day.
The deadline for entries in the 2021 competition is 15 July 2021. For further details, please see the Society for Italian Studies’ website: http://italianstudies.org.uk/postgraduates/prizes/.
The winner in the Graduate category receives an award of £500, and the winner in the Undergraduate category an award of £250. At the judges’ discretion, a runner-up prize of £100 may be awarded for Undergraduates and a runner-up prize £200 for Postgraduates.
The joint-winners in the postgraduate category were:
Dr Flora Derounian, University of Bristol – Representations and Oral Histories of Working Women in Post-World War Two Italy (1945-1965); and
Dr Luca Zenobi, University of Oxford – Borders and the politics of space in late medieval Italy: Milan, Venice and their territories in the 15th Century.
The winner in the undergraduate category was:
Esme Garlake, University of Cambridge – Ephemeral Journeys: Tracing the Lives of Early Twentieth-Century Italian Postcards.
The judges highly commended the following runners-up:
Ambra Anelotti, Royal Holloway College, University of London – The
dissemination of Orlando Furioso: Ariosto and his poems in Southern Italy (1532-1599).
Benjamin Rowe, University of Bristol – Degradation and Regeneration: An Examination of the Causes of Le Vele’s Demise
Alice Cripps, University of Kent – Representations of Motherhood in Italian Visual Culture from the Fascist ventennio to the Modern Day.
The prize for best entry in the postgraduate category was awarded to Marianna Griffini (London School of Economics) for her dissertation on Colonial Hybridity in the Italian Community in Libya (1926-1970).
The prize for best entry in the undergraduate category in 2016 was awarded to Lucia Crowther (University of Reading) for her essay on The Architectural Formalisation of Pilgrimage in the Portico of the Madonna di San Luca (Bologna).
The judges also commended the high quality of the entries submitted by the two runners-up in each category:
Kate Willman (University of Warwick), On the New Italian Epic Historical Novels.
Stefano Bragato (University of Reading), Carte Brasiliane (Strategie di Composizione Letteraria in Filippo Tommaso Marinetti).
Melanie Sackett (University of Exeter), Miss Italia: Analysing the Relationship between the Female Body, Tradition and Politics in Contemporary Italy.
Isabel Orange (University of Bristol), ‘La Vera Babilonia’: Babylon and her Transfigured Selves in Dante and Petrarch.
We are grateful to the Society for Italian Studies (www.italianstudies.org.uk), for their assistance in administering these awards.
Since 2019, the British-Italian Society has sponsored the annual Warwick University Translation Prizes for translations from Italian into English by undergraduate students in the United Kingdom. Prizes have been awarded to:
Winner: Ellie Tippett-Wilson, University of Durham.
Runner-up: Ruby Kelman, Edinburgh University.
Winner: Alex Joseland, University of York.
Runner-up: Jemma Henry, Cambridge University.
Until 2010 the society also supported the John Florio Prize for Translation.
John Florio (1555-1625) was a distinguished writer and translator of Italian Protestant descent, who lived and worked in London. He translated Boccaccio’s Decameron and published two Italian-English dictionaries.
The John Florio Prize is awarded biennially for the best English translation of a full-length Italian work of literary merit and general interest. It was first awarded in 1963.
The prize was co-sponsored, until 2010, by the British-Italian Society, the Italian Cultural Institute and the Society of Authors in London.
The winners from 2000 to 2010 were:
2010 – Jamie McKendrick – The Embrace: Selected Poems (Valerio Magrelli, Faber)
2008 – Peter Robinson – The Greener Meadow (Luciano Erba, Princeton University Press)
2006 – Carol O’Sullivan & Martin Thom – Kuraj (Silvia de Natale, Bloomsbury)
2004 – Howard Curtis – Coming Back (Edoardo Albinati, Hesperus Press)
2002 – Stephen Satarelli – Prince of the Clouds (Gianni Riotta, Flamingo)
2000 – Martin McLaughlin – Why Read the Classics? (Italo Calvino, Jonathan Cape)
Recent donations by the Society have included: