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02 April 2024

King's professor wins journal's article of the year award

Professor Siobhán McIlvanney has been announced as the winner of the Modern & Contemporary France prize for the best article for 2023.

240402 Siobhan McIlvanney article of the year

In ‘Working through maternal ambivalence: the wake-up call of Chanson douce, Professor McIlvanney examines Leïla Slimani’s 2016 international bestseller Chanson douce (known as Lullaby in English) through the prism of the work’s portrayal of maternal ambivalence. Her analysis seeks to promote a more considered, contextualized understanding of the many – and often contradictory – experiences that make up the text’s representation of mothering. 

I am delighted to have been awarded this prize and would like to extend my thanks to the Editorial Board of Modern & Contemporary France. Leïla Slimani’s Chanson douce invites important debate on the ways we read and respond to different experiences of mothering that may not closely correspond to the often-idealised paradigms associated with the 'institution' of motherhood – and I think that is a very productive purpose for literature to serve.

Siobhán McIlvanney, Professor of French and Francophone Women's Writing

The recipient of the prize is chosen by members of an interdisciplinary subcommittee of the Editorial Board and is based on the article’s scope, originality, quality and clarity of argument. Winning authors receive a £1,000 prize and collect their prize during the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (ASMCF) annual conference in September. 

McIlvanney’s article conducts a laser-focused reading of the text, drawing on a range of theoretical approaches that work together extremely well to outline a sharp, convincing argument. The article is an excellent example of the type of research we aspire to publish in Modern & Contemporary France and it will no doubt inspire much further discussion of the topic, while also appealing to a wide readership.

Modern & Contemporary France

Modern & Contemporary France is a global peer-reviewed journal imparting scholarly works in history, politics, literary, cultural and post-colonial studies, film and media studies, and social sciences in relation to all aspects of France and the French-speaking world from 1789 to today. 

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Professor Siobhán McIlvanney

Professor of French and Francophone Women's Writing