UNSW student represents at the world's largest academic awards programme.

29 Sep 2016

A huge congratulations to Elise Matthyssen who recently represented UNSW in the world’s largest academic awards programme, The Undergraduate Awards 2016, and was awarded for being the highest-performing Highly Commended Entrant in her region. Elise recently completed a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at UNSW and was named the Regional Winner from the Oceania Region in the categories of Literature: English and Literature: Non-English. A fantastic achievement – well done!

The Undergraduate Awards accept submissions from undergraduate students across the globe and assesses coursework from a wide range of disciplines. With students from 243 different universities participating in 2016, the program is the world’s largest academic awards program and provides participants with the opportunity for publication in the program’s journal and participation in a four-day summit held in Dublin in November of each year

Q&A with Elise Mathyssen

Why did you enter the awards?

They provided a good opportunity to return to and revive some work from my Honours year which might otherwise lie forgotten. Moreover, the prospect of a trip to Dublin and James Joyce’s Liffey was reason enough to spend the time required to put together a submission!

What was the paper you submitted? And why did you choose this subject

My two shortlisted submissions were respectively titled “Narratives of modern love and pathology: Encounters between Venus and the Sun from Avebury to Hiroshima in Shirley Hazzard’s The Transit of Venus” and “From Number 4, Rue de Savoie, Paris to Siberia and back again: Travelling with Blaise Cendrars in 1913 along several lines of European modernism”. Both submissions emerged from research which had continued to productively bother my thoughts long after its original submission during my Honours year.

My “Non-English” submission was a revision of one of my thesis chapters, and it explored the politics of travel at work in Blaise Cendrars and Sonia Delaunay-Terk’s 1913 collaboration Prose of the Transsiberian and Little Jehanne of France. I was interested in playing with the figure of the line in my paper, looking at the different types of inscribing lines (poetic, cartographic, locomotive) woven through the artwork. My submission to the “English” category studied Shirley Hazzard’s exceptional novel The Transit of Venus and its treatment of love and pathology in modernity.

What does it does it mean to be named in the top 10% for the Literature: Non-English category?

I suppose it’s nice to entertain the prospect that undergraduate research developed in UNSW’s familiar Sydney city block can also engage with a wider (global) academic audience. Obviously, it’s also a pleasure to confirm the strength of UNSW’s literature program and its competitiveness at an international level.