Natasza Gawlick wins the Stambaugh-Borchardt Prize

Natasza Gawlick

I discovered Mariella Mehr’s text steinzeit (lowercase intended by author) mid-summer and was immediately struck by the text’s alienating and provocative nature. steinzeit addresses relevant and contemporary issues of the Yenish minority in Switzerland and speaks to both my professional interests and personal background as a person of Polish-German-Roma heritage.

The novel consists of  cyclical traumatic episodes,  defies all conventional linguistic and literary traditions, and includes both fictional and biographical features of the suffering experienced at the hands of the purported charitable foundation Pro Juventute in Switzerland between 1926-1973. In my WPR, and in future dissertation work, I am interested in exploring the intersection between identity, trauma and historical-political significance in Roma literature.

I am immensely grateful for my committee members: my advisor, Priscilla Layne, who has been an invaluable source of wisdom and guidance throughout this project, and to Kata Gellen and Stefani Engelstein, for their invaluable insights and support.