Rose Mary Crawshay Prize

The Rose Mary Crawshay Prize of £500 is awarded annually for a book on literature, written by a woman.

History of the prize

In 1888 Rose Mary Crawshay endowed a ‘Byron, Shelley, Keats In Memoriam Yearly Prize Fund’, whose administration was later transferred to the British Academy. The prize was first awarded in 1916.


a) The prize is awarded each year for an historical or critical book by a woman, on any subject connected with literature.

b) Eligible nominations must be for books published within the last three years.

How to nominate

Nominations for the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize are currently closed. Nominations will open again in December 2021.

2020 winner


Professor Marion Turner for her book Chaucer: A European Life (Princeton University Press, 2019).

Marion Turner is Associate Professor of English and Tutorial Fellow of Jesus College, University of Oxford, where she teaches literature from 650 to 1550, and life-writing across time. Her research interests focus on Chaucer: her previous publications include Chaucerian Conflict (OUP, 2007), and A Handbook of Middle English Studies (Wiley Blackwell, 2013). She is an elected Trustee of the New Chaucer Society. Her research for Chaucer: A European Life, was supported by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, and she currently holds a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship. Her next book, also to be published by Princeton UP, will be a biography of Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, from antiquity to the present day.

It is an extraordinary honour to be awarded the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay prize, and to follow in the footsteps of so many brilliant women. Writing a biography was a new venture for me, and it involved thinking creatively about the shape of a life, and about how life and poetry can productively be connected. I decided to structure Chaucer: A European Life through spaces and places, which enabled me to investigate how the poet’s imagination was formed – what he saw, where he went, how he thought. Chaucer was a great innovator, and his experiments emerged from a deep-rooted engagement with European poetry and ideas, while his life and career were embedded in global trade networks. I hope that this book has changed readers’ perceptions of who this canonical figure was, of how we might re-imagine a life, and of what Englishness meant – and means – across time.

– Professor Marion Turner, July 2020

Previous winners

(The current convention is that one prize is awarded each year, but the list below shows that in the past there have often been two winners in a year.)

2019 Dr Marina MacKay for Ian Watt: the Novel and Wartime Critic (Oxford University Press, 2019).

2018  Professor Emma J. Clery for Eighteen Hundred and Eleven: Poetry, Protest and Economic Crisis (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

2017  Dr Kate Bennett for John Aubrey, Brief Lives with an Apparatus for the Lives of our English Mathematical Writers (Volume I & II) (Oxford University Press, 2015)

2016  Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge for The Judicial Imagination: Writing after Nuremberg (Edinburgh University Press, 2011)

2015  Professor Catherine Bates for Masculinity and the Hunt: Wyatt to Spenser (Oxford University Press, 2013); Professor Ankhi Mukherjee for What is a Classic? Postcolonial Rewriting and Invention of the Canon (Stanford University Press, 2014)

2014  Dr Hannah Sullivan for The Work of Revision (Harvard University Press, 2013)

2012  Professor Julie Sanders for The Cultural Geography of Early Modern Drama 1620-1650

2011  Professor Fiona Stafford for Local Attachments: The Province of Poetry (Oxford University Press)

2010  Dr Daisy Hay for Young Romantics (Bloomsbury)

2009  Frances Wilson for The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth (Faber); Professor Molly M Mahoood for The Poet as Botanist (Cambridge University Press)

2008  Dr Helen W Small for The Long Life (Oxford University Press)

2007  Dr Susan Oliver for Scott, Byron and the Politics of Cultural Encounter (Palgrave)

2006  Dr Rosalind Ballaster for Fabulous Orients: Fictions of the East in England 1662-1785 (Oxford University Press)

2005  Judith Farr with Louise Carter for The Gardens of Emily Dickinson (Harvard University Press); Dr Claire Preston for Thomas Browne and the Writing of Early Modern Science (Cambridge University Press)

2004  Dr Maud Ellmann for Elizabeth Bowen: The Shadow Across the Page (Edinburgh University Press); Dr Anne Stott for Hannah More: The First Victorian (Oxford University Press)

2003  Mrs Claire Tomalin for Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self (Penguin); Dr Jane Stabler for Byron, Poetics and History (Cambridge University Press)

2002  Professor Wendy Doniger for The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade (University of Chicago Press); Professor Kate Flint for The Victorians and the Visual Imagination (Cambridge University Press)

2001  Dr Annette Peach for Portraits of Byron (reprinted from the Walpole Society Volume LXII); Dr Lucy Newlyn for Reading, Writing, and Romanticism: The Anxiety of Reception (Oxford University Press)

2000  Marina Warner for No Go the Bogeyman: Scaring, Lulling and Making Mock (Chatto and Windus; Vintage); Joanne Wilkes for Lord Byron and Madame de Staël: Born for Opposition (Ashgate)

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