Merton undergraduate Eleanor Clark wins the Colin Franklin Prize for Book Collecting

Second year Merton English Language and Literature student Eleanor Clark has been awarded the 2023 Colin Franklin Prize for Book Collecting. Eleanor’s collection of first edition books by female authors 1900-2000 documents women’s literary lives in the twentieth-century.

The Colin Franklin Prize for Book Collecting is awarded annually by the Bodleian Library’s Centre for the Study of the Book, with the purpose of encouraging the collecting of books and other printed material by students of the University of Oxford. The prize comprises two parts: a payment of £600 to the winner, and an allowance of £300 for a book to be purchased for the Bodleian Library’s collections, selected by the winner in co-operation with the Bodleian’s Curator of Rare Books. The prize is funded from a donation by Anthony Davis.

On receiving the award, Eleanor said,

‘I’m delighted to have won the Colin Franklin Prize: over the last few weeks, my eyes have been opened to the world of rare books in Oxford, and I’ve been able to hold in my hands a near-pristine first edition of South Riding, the novel that started it all. I’m hugely grateful to everyone involved in the prize.’

Funder of the Colin Franklin Prize, Anthony Davis, said,

‘We were very impressed with the way Eleanor related to the books and what they represented not just to authors but to prior owners too.  The judges look for a sense of the physical materiality of the books and Eleanor showed a close connection with hers, writing  a perceptive essay about how the books as physical objects tell stories about their context and histories. Congratulations to Eleanor!’