We are delighted to announce that the British Society for Literature and Science and Journal of Literature and Science prize for an essay by an early-career scholar has been won by Lara Choksey for her essay “Peripheral Adaptation: Living with Climate Change in Doris Lessing’s The Making of the Representative for Planet 8”.
We offer our congratulations to Lara for what the judges agreed was a striking and original essay. The essay will be published in the next available issue of JLS, and its author will also receive a prize of £100.
The judging panel wrote: “This year’s prize-winning essay offers a fascinating reading of Lessing’s The Making of the Representative for Planet 8. It convincingly argues that the novel responds to the post-war neoimperial governance of decolonised African nations through its depiction of a genetically engineered labour force of Planet 8ers, in what amounts to a science fictional representation of the imperial invention of race. Choksey skilfully reads the novel through the lens of epigenetic science, bringing that science into conversation with global political debates about race, capitalism, decolonisation and development. Persuasively contending that Lessing explores the potential of biologically different modes of living in an era of ecological crisis and racist exploitation, Choksey’s essay offers an important and timely contribution to the work of undoing the epistemological and psychological effects of imperial rule, and in so doing opens up new vistas for the study of literature and science.
We would like to thank all the BSLS members who submitted essays for this year's prize. As usual, we were delighted by the high standard of the submissions we received and thoroughly enjoyed reading all of them.