Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge

Placeless People: Writing, Rights, and Refugees written by Lyndsey Stonebridge has won the Modernist Studies Association (MSA) Book Prize Award.

The book – by Lyndsey Stonebridge, Professor of Humanities and Human Rights at the Department of English Literature - was chosen by the prize committee and announced at MSA annual conference in Toronto on Thursday 17 October 2019.

Placeless People: Writing, Rights, and Refugees examines how the twentieth century bore witness to the creation of a new class of person: the placeless people; those who cross frontiers and fall out of nation states; the refugees; the stateless; the rightless. Unlike genocide, the impact of mass displacement on modern thought and literature has yet to be recognised.

For writers such as Hannah Arendt, W.H. Auden, George Orwell, Samuel Beckett, Simone Weil, and Dorothy Thompson, among others, the outcasts of the twentieth century raised vital questions about sovereignty, humanism, and the future of human rights. Placeless People combines an account of these first responses to the era of the refugee with a critique of contemporary humanitarian sensibilities.

Commenting on the award Lyndsey Stonebridge said: “I’m thrilled to receive this prize, particularly from this group of scholars. The book is historical, but the questions it raises – about rights, moral responsibility, and the agonies of displacement – are as pressing today.”

The Modernist Studies Association started in 1998 as part of an effort to provide a venue, interdisciplinary and international, in which scholars of Modernism could contribute to ongoing reshaping of the field. Each year, the Modernist Studies Association seeks nominations for its Book Prize, awarded to a book published in the previous year. A panel of judges determines the book that made the most significant contribution to modernist studies.