Mary Eliza Root Prize

The ‘Mary Eliza Root Prize’ is now closed for applications. The competition will reopen again in Spring/Summer 2019.

In memory of his Great-Great-Grandmother, who died in a Hoxton workhouse, Professor John Spiers has generously gifted VPFA with £100 each year, for the next five years. With this money, VPFA is going to sponsor one of our members to conduct research at Gladstone’s Library. VPFA will match-fund up to £100 for travel expenses to the library.

Gladstone’s Library is situated in the beautiful and serene village of Hawarden, North Wales, and is Britain’s only residential Prime Ministerial Library. Gladstone, born in 1809, and Prime Minister on four separate occasions, began building his library in 1889. He designed it specifically as a place of study and solitude for scholars, so they could access his substantial book collection, and this remains its primary purpose today.

To further Gladstone’s end, and to celebrate the fantastic work on Victorian popular fiction being generated at the VPFA, the ‘Mary Eliza Root Prize’ offers the winning scholar two nights’ accommodation (complete with breakfast and dinner) for up to three days’ research at Gladstone’s Library. In order to fulfil Gladstone’s Library’s accommodation requirements, the prize must be claimed between December – February of the application round.

The winner will be expected to write a c.1000 word blog post on their research experience for the VPFA blog within a month of the research being completed. Any published works based on research undertaken for the ‘Mary Eliza Root Prize’ must acknowledge the prize.

To apply, please send a 2 page C.V. and 300 word cover letter detailing how researching at Gladstone’s Library will aid your own research and contribute to furthering the field of Victorian popular fiction and culture. Please send the application to citing the ‘Mary Eliza Root Prize’ in the subject box.

Previous Winners of the ‘Mary Eliza Root Prize’:

2017 – Anne Chapman, King’s College London, for her research into ‘Day of Rest: Structuring Sunday’, which explores the ways in which cultural representations of rest participated in the construction of Sundays in the Victorian imagination.

2018 – Lin Young, Queen’s University, for research on the material imagery of the spirit world for use in two dissertation chapters on objecthood in Wuthering Heights, A Christmas Carol, and Picture of Dorian Gray. You can read all about Lin Young’s Gladstone’s Library experiences here.