George Watt Prize

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.

The George Watt Prize is awarded in three categories:

# of Winners Monetary Award Published (in excerpt)
Pre-Collegiate 3 Up to $250 yes
Undergraduate 1 Up to $500 yes
Graduate 1 Up to $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.
  • Winners are expected to make a statement/presentation to the selection committee prior to award disbursement.
  • Any work produced since August 1, 2023, is eligible for the competition.
  • One essay will be awarded up to $1000
  • Deadline: July 5, 2024

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).
  • Winners are expected to make a statement/presentation to the selection committee prior to award disbursement.
  • Any work produced since August 1, 2023, is eligible for the competition.
  • One essay will be awarded up to $500
  • Deadline: July 5, 2024

Pre-Collegiate Award

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.
Up to three essays will be awarded up to $250
Deadline: July 5, 2024.

All submissions must be formatted as a Word document or PDF.

Submissions should be emailed to [email protected]

ALBA’s Executive Committee appoints the jury. Award winners will be announced at the end of September 2023. Winning essays are published on the ALBA website and an excerpt from 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.

Se invita a estudiantes de todo el mundo a enviar un ensayo o capítulo de tesis o tesina que trate de cualquier aspecto de la Guerra Civil Española, las luchas políticas y culturales contra el fascismo en los años 20 y 30 o las biografías y contribuciones de las y los voluntarios internacionales que entre 1936 y 1938 lucharon en defensa de la Segunda República Española.

Los textos sometidos a concurso se juzgarán en base a su originalidad, la calidad de su investigación y la eficacia de su argumentación y presentación.

Premio de Posgrado
  • Se considerarán textos de entre 3.500 y 10.500 palabras
  • Los textos pueden estar redactados en inglés o castellano
  • El/la concursante debe estar matriculado/a como estudiante de posgrado y el trabajo enviado debe haberse escrito en el marco de sus estudios, a partir del 1 de agosto de 2023
  • Se otorgará un premio de hasta $1000 USD
Premio de Grado
  • Se considerarán textos de entre 2.000 y 12.500 palabras
  • Los textos pueden estar redactados en inglés o castellano
  • El/la concursante debe estar matriculado/a como estudiante de grado y el trabajo enviado debe haberse escrito en el marco de sus estudios, a partir del 1 de agosto de 2023 (favor de indicar curso, grado e institución; para los capítulos de tesis, favor de incluir un resumen de la tesis)
  • Se otorgará un premio de hasta $ 500 USD
Premio de secundaria

Se aceptarán textos académicos, de no ficción y de ficción, incluida poesía. No hay mínimo de páginas; máximo 25 pp. Se otorgarán hasta tres premios de hasta $250 USD cada uno.

Submissions should be emailed to [email protected]

2023 Winners

Graduate Prizes:  Alfie Norris (University of Oxford) “From the Back to the Battlefield” Matthew Kovac (UC Berkeley) “Defending Jerusalem In Cordoba”

Undergraduate Prizes:  Carolyn Ellison (The Open University of the United Kingdom ) “Welsh International Brigaders” Sam Bisno (Princeton University ) “Olive Trees and Peasant Comrades”

Pre-Collegiate Prizes: Sohan Sahay (Gretchen Whitney High School) “From Painting to Politics: The Life of David Alfaro Siqueiros.” Iago Macknik-Conde “The First Desegregated American Fighting Force”  Kikyo Makino-Siller (Stuyvesant High School) “Sweet Mabel”  Monica Nitu (Xavier College Preparatory) “The Nexus of Philosophical Changes, Nationalism, and Totalitarianism” 


2022 Winners

Graduate Prizes: Paula Perez-Rodriguez (Princeton) “Reparto de armas espirituales: alfabetización, socialismo y utopía letrada en la Guerra Civil Española” Luis Madrigal (University of Chicago) “Little Has Been Said: The Fredericka Martin Papers”

Undergraduate Prizes:   Rebecca Mundill (University of Manchester) “Reassessing the Humanitarian Activism of Eleanor F. Rathbone in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1937” Alfie Norris (University of Leeds ) “I was born of working-class folks’ study of Wakefield International Brigade Volunteers and Forgotten Working-Class History”

Pre-Collegiate Prizes: Olinmazatemictli (Maza) Reyes (Arizona School for the Arts) “Bernard Knox: Soldier and Scholar” Ashwin Telang (West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South) “Policy Gone Wrong: U.S. Neutrality in the Spanish Civil War”

2021 Winners

Graduate Prizes: Kevan Aguilar (University of California San Diego) “Ambassadors of the Revolution: Anarchist Diplomacy during the
Spanish Civil War” Katharina Seibert (University of Vienna) “Negotiating Francoism in the Frontline Hospital”

Undergraduate Prizes: Morgan Davis (New York University) “Female Leadership in Francoist Spain: National-Catholic Restrictions and Female Solidarity in the Sección Femenina’s Y Revista de la Mujer” Samuel Orloff (University of Pennsylvania) “Initial Media Responses to the Battle of Cable Street

Pre-Collegiate Prizes: Justin Murdock (Stuyvesant High School) “The Omnipresent Weapon” Bismah Shaikh (University of Houston) “The Weight of Actions

 2020 Winners

Graduate Prize: Carlos Nava (Southern Methodist University) “The Mexican-American Press and The Spanish Civil War

Undergraduate Prize: Emmaline Paige Bennett (Columbia University) “Cities of Defeat: Spanish Civil War Refugees and the French Concentration Camps of 1939

Pre-Collegiate Prizes: Michele Jennings (Apex Friendship High School) “The Blood of Madrid” Hugh Goffinet (James I. O’Neill High School) “The Champion of North African Independence: The Life of Rabah Oussidhoum” James Mair (Marple Sixth Form College) “Ideologies of Revolution within the Anglophone International Brigades

2019 Winners

Collegiate Prizes: Elissa Sutherland (New York University ) “My Grandfather was Also a Disappeared,” Breanna van Loenen (New York University) “Friend or Foe? Defining the Enemy in Franco’s Spain from 1936 until 1959”

Pre-Collegiate Prizes: Jason Huang (Phillips Exeter Academy) “Abraham Lincoln Brigade: African American Internationalism Manifested” Kate Harty and Alice Tecoztky (George Snook at Packer Collegiate Institute). “For the Love of God: The Intersection of Politics and Religion in the Spanish Civil War” Briann Siener (Rosary Hight School). “Beans and Bombs”

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.