The BIS launched the biennial British-Italian Society Prizes in 2019.
This competition replaced the Rooke Memorial Prizes (2002-2016). Its purpose is to encourage the study of Italian language and culture at British and Irish universities both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
The competition is open to undergraduate students taking Italian as one of their subjects until their final year and to postgraduate students (MA, MRes, MPhil, PhD) in Italian Studies who passed their work (final year essay/dissertation/thesis) during the academic year just completed. The subject matter is confined to disciplines in the humanities and social sciences relating to Italy, from the Middle Ages to the present day. Postgraduate entrants can apply only once in the course of their degree and with one piece of work.
Two prizes are available:
At the awarding panel’s discretion, a runner-up prize of £100 may be awarded for Undergraduates and a runner-up prize of £200 for Postgraduates. In case of joint winners/runners-up, each amount will be split equally.
Each University/Institution in the UK and Ireland is invited to submit ONE candidate only for each category: a: Undergraduate, b: Postgraduate or both, following a pre-selection process, conducted in each case by the Italian Department (or equivalent) in consultation with their colleagues in Italian Studies or in other departments as appropriate; i.e. each University can submit maximum 1 UG and 1 PG entrant (either MA, MPhil or PhD entrant).
To be considered for the Undergraduate Prize, the work must have been awarded a first class mark (70 or above).
The supervisor/module convenor will submit two pdf files:
(We accept longer submissions for Undergraduate dissertations (up to 12,000 words) only where this is the required length in the Institution where the work is submitted.)
EITHER: The supervisor of Taught MA candidates should submit one pdf file:
OR: The supervisor of MRes/MPhil/PhD candidates should submit two pdf files:
All work must have been passed (at exams board or viva) during the academic year just completed. We accept work submitted during the previous academic year, when the awarding exams board or viva took place during the academic year just completed. Postgraduate students must have passed the viva (even if with corrections) by the time of the application. In all cases, the submitted piece of work must be completed (not in draft form), unpublished, and not be under consideration for publication.
Work may be submitted in English or Italian.
Submissions are made by the supervisor, and not directly by the student.
For further details, please see the Society for Italian Studies’ website: http://italianstudies.org.uk/postgraduates/prizes/.
The winner in the postgraduate category was:
Dr Claudia Dellacasa, University of Durham – Italo Calvino in Japan, Japan in Italo Calvino: A Cross-Cultural Encounter.
The winner in the undergraduate category was:
Freya Cazalet, University of Cambridge – The Sleeping Guards: Depictions of the Resurrection in Trecento Italy.
The judges awarded joint runner-up prizes to four exceptionally strong entries:
Dr Anna Lisa Somma, University of Birmingham – Donna con donna: Representations of female- female desire in early modern Italian literature; and
Dr Maddalena Moretti, University of Leeds – Come una specie di guida: Pasolini’s Reconceptualisation of Dante in his Theory and Practice of Realism.
Isabelle Ragnetti, King’s College, University of London – Somali and Eritrean Postcolonial Challenges to the Homogeneous Conceptualisation of Italian Nationhood: Igiaba Scego and Erminio Dell’Oro Compared; and
Ella Powell, University of Birmingham – A feminist critical discourse and analysis of the Italian print media’s narrative on gender-based violence.
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.
Rooke Memorial Prizes
Until 2016 these awards were known as the Rooke Memorial Prizes. They were made possible by a generous bequest from the late Rosemary Rooke, a former Society member.
Recent winners include:
Postgraduate – Marianna Griffini, London School of Economics) – Colonial Hybridity in the Italian Community in Libya (1926-1970).
Undergraduate – Lucia Crowther, University of Reading – The Architectural Formalisation of Pilgrimage in the Portico of the Madonna di San Luca (Bologna).
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: