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Essay Contest

George Watt

George Watt Prize, 2019

This annual essay competition was established in 1998 to honor Lincoln vet George Watt, a writer and lifelong activist central to the creation of ALBA.

Students from anywhere in the world are invited to submit an essay or thesis chapter about any aspect of the Spanish Civil War, the global political or cultural struggles against fascism in 1920s and 1930s, or the lifetime histories and contributions of the international volunteers who fought in support of the Spanish Republic from 1936 to 1938.

Work will be judged on the basis of originality, quality of research, and effectiveness of argument or presentation.

Submissions should be emailed (as an attachment) to

with the subject line "2019 Watt Award" (Please indicate in which category you are submitting and include the title of your submission)

The George Watt Prize is awarded in three categories: 

# of Winners Monetary Award Published (in excerpt)
Pre-Collegiate 3 $250 each yes
Undergraduate 1 $500 yes
Graduate 1 $1000 yes
Graduate Award

•       Submissions must be between 3,500 and 12,500 words.
•       Submissions may be in Spanish or English.
•       The Applicant must currently be registered as a graduate student and work must be related to graduate studies. 
•       Any work produced since August 1, 2018 is eligible for the competition.
•       Deadline: July 1, 2019

Undergraduate Award

•       Essays must be between 2,000 and 10,500 words.
•       Submissions may be in Spanish or English.
•       Submissions must have been produced to fulfill an undergraduate course or degree requirement (please specify course, degree, and institution; for thesis chapters, please add a thesis abstract).
•       Any work produced since August 1, 2018 is eligible for the competition.
•       Deadline: July 1, 2019

Pre-Collegiate Award

Academic, non-fiction, and fiction writing are all accepted. Poetry submissions are also accepted. No minimum page length, maximum length is 25 pages. All submissions must be in .doc or .pdf file format. Deadline: July 1, 2019.


ALBA’s Executive Committee appoints the jury. Award winners will be announced at the end of September 2019. Winning essays are published on the ALBA website and an excerpt of the entry is published in ALBA's quarterly magazine, The Volunteer.

If any submission commits plagiarism or violates copyright, the author of the essay is solely responsible for the act(s).  ALBA will NOT take any responsibility in case of plagiarism and/or copyright infringement.  If ALBA receives any concrete evidence of plagiarism and/or copyright violation after a winner is selected, then the prize shall be returned to ALBA and we will remove that work from our website.

2018 Winners   

Graduate Prize: Carlos Piriz-Gonzalez (University of Salamanca) "Propaganda de exterminio: la Quinta Columna como psicosis colectiva."

Undergraduate Prize: Christian A. Culton (University of California Santa Cruz) “Nationalist Propaganda during the Spanish Civil War: Appeals for International Support and the Western Fear of Communism.”  Eric Ryan-Inkson (University of Leeds) "A Historical Repositioning of the Duchess of Atholl as an Influential Humanitarian during the Spanish Civil War." 
Eva Ackerman, Dana Gold, and Amanda Wessel (Bryn Mawr College) “Internacionalismo judío en contextos geográficos: Investigando los motivos complejos para la participación judía de los Estados Unidos, Argentina y Palelstina en la Guerra Civil Española" (co-authored research paper).

Pre-Collegiate Prizes:Lily Jensen and Emma Easton (Packer Collegiate Institute) “From Guernica to Aleppo: The Price of Civilian Bombing in the Spanish Civil War” (co-authored non-fiction essay). Joselinne Piedras-Sarabia (CTE Early College High School). “Madre, ella todavía está aquí" (fictional prose).

2017 Winners   

Undergraduate Prize: Juliann Susas (Johns Hopkins University). "Spanish Civil War Music: A Crescendo of Ideological Disjuncture."

Pre-Collegiate Prizes: (This year there were two Pre-Collegiate Awardees.) Liam Doyle and Raphael Wood (The Packer Collegiate Institute. New York City, NY). "A Revolution in Romanticism: The Shift in Fervor within the International Brigades and the Anarcho-Syndicalists throughout the Spanish Civil War." (co-authored non-fiction essay). & Josie Fischels (Independence High School. Independence, Iowa). "Shattered: The Bombing of Guernica." (fictional prose). 


2016 Winners 

Graduate Prize: Kerrie Holloway (Queen Mary University of London). "The Flight to France and Concentration Camps: The NJC and the Spanish Refugees." A chapter in her forthcoming dissertation “Britain’s Political Humanitarians: The National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief and the Spanish Refugees of 1939.”

Undergraduate Prizes: (This year there were two Undergraduate Awardees). Samuel Chan (UCLA). “No Child ‘Left’ Behind: The Cold War Educational Prejudice Against the Left and its Impact on the Spanish Civil War.” & Paul Oshinski (University of Georgia). “The Spanish Civil War: Analysis of the Nature of the Franco Regime and Theoretical Explanations for the Causes of the War.”

2015 Winners 

Graduate Prize: Jonathan Sherry (University of Pittsburgh). The Soviet show trial as export: justice and legal culture in the Spanish Civil War.

Undergraduate Prize: Carlos Nava (Southern Methodist University). Divisions In Mexican Support of Republican Spain.

2014 Winners 

Graduate Prize: Ashley Danielle Ellington (Georgia Southern University). Archaeology and Memory of the Spanish Civil War

Undergraduate Prize: Fletcher Warren (Bethel University). Making the Leap: From Political Awakening to Spain

2013 Winners 

Graduate Prize: Francisco Javier Ramón Solans (Universidad de Zaragoza). Zaragoza, Ciudad de Retaguardia (1936-1939)

Undergraduate Prize: Rotem Herrmann (New York University). Fighting For What? Why Jewish Palestinian Volunteers Made Their Way to Spain

2012 Winners

Graduate Prize: Matthew Poggi (University of Toronto).  Saving Memories: Canadian Veterans of the Spanish Civil War and their Pursuit of Government Recognition

Undergraduate Prize:  Reid Palmer (Oberlin College).  A Peculiar Fate: American Press Coverage of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Honorable Mentions

Graduate: Francisco Leira Castiñeira (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela).  "Franco's Soldiers" Hostility to the War

Undergraduate: Minde Jerde (Pacific Lutheran University).  "Brother" North: Morocco's Involvement in the Spanish Civil War

2011 Winners

Graduate Prize: Maria Thomas (Royal Holloway, Univ. of London). Masculinity, Sexuality and Anticlerical Violence during the Spanish Civil War.

Undergraduate Prize:  Zachary Ramos Smith (Univ. of Washington). Radical Politics and Emotional Liberation: Thane Summers’ Road to the Spanish Civil War.

2010 Winners

Graduate Prize: Christopher Bannister (European University Institute). The Rival Durrutis: The Posthumous Cult of Personality of Buenaventura Durruti, November, 1936-June, 1937.

Undergraduate Prize:  Conor Tomás Reed (City College). "Seed Foundations Shakin"': Interwar African Diasporic Responses to Fascism and the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War.

2009 Winners

Anna Kathryn Kendrick (Harvard University). “On Guard with the Junipers”: Ewart Milne and Irish Literary Dissent in the Spanish Civil War.

2008 Winners

Lynn Cartwright-Punnett (Wesleyan University). How Spain Sees its Past: The Monumentalization of the Spanish Civil War. Part I and Part II.

Sonia García-López (Universitat de València). Spain Is Us. La guerra civil española en el cine del Popular Front: 1936-1939.