MSLIS student Claire Thomas has won the master's level 2023 Children's Literature Association (ChLA) Graduate Essay Award for her essay, "Bisexual Representation and Experimental Form in Kristin Cashore's Jane, Unlimited." The award includes a $400 award, one-year complimentary ChLA membership, and complimentary registration to the ChLA Annual Conference.
In her essay, Thomas uses queer theory to analyze bisexual representation in Jane, Unlimited, a speculative fiction young adult novel. According to Thomas, the novel employs an experimental form that creates a "uniquely fragmented coming-of-age portrayal."
"The novel features an unconventional love triangle that allows it to sidestep stereotypical portrayals of bisexuals as confused and unable to choose a person/gender while leaving space for the protagonist's attraction to multiple genders," she said. "This essay analyzes the implications of these narrative and stylistic choices on bisexual representation, both within the text and in speculative young adult fiction in general."
The ChLA awards committee found Thomas' essay to be a "polished, insightful, and an exceptionally thoughtful analysis of Cashore's text, attentive to queer theory, recent research on bisexual identity, and the novel's place in the speculative fiction tradition." Thomas will present her award-winning paper at the ChLA Annual Conference, which will take place June 15-17 in Bellevue, Washington.