Award of the Colin Franklin Prize for Book Collecting, 2021

Yvette Siegert; photo credit: Cyril Closset
Yvette Siegert. Photo credit: Cyril Closset

The winner of the Colin Franklin Prize for Book Collecting, 2021, is announced. This competition is open each year to current undergraduate or postgraduate students of the University of Oxford.

This year’s prize has been awarded to Yvette Siegert, Merton College, Oxford, D.Phil Medieval & Modern Languages, for her collection, ‘In Search of the Heroic City: Cartagena de Indias, 1821–2021’

Siegert’s collection is inspired by a fascination with Cartagena, as she writes, ‘“the Heroic City” … a fortressed city that withstood invasion for centuries and was part of the first province in New Granada to declare independence from Spain (in 1811) … My aim as a collector parallels my research aims as a D.Phil student: to understand how Cartagena survived a century-long stagnation since Independence and became a central inspiration for important works of Spanish American political thought and cultural production.’

Her winning essay describes encounters with books and documents in and of Cartagena, evoking the story of this port city in documentary and architectural survivals, from the historical archives kept in the Palace of the Inquisition to Librería Los Mártires, the makeshift bookstall managed by Ibeth (Yvette’s namesake, in translation) in the archway of the clock tower at the heart of the city.

As well as the £600 prize to the winner, £300 is given to the Bodleian Libraries for purchase of a book, in consultation with the winning student book collector.

In 2021, a strong field of entries was considered by the judges. Several entrants have been invited to contribute versions of their essays to The Conveyor blog, and will be featured here.

This year, in awarding the prize, we also mark the passing of the bibliophile and collector for whom it is named. Colin Franklin (1923-2020) was a distinguished author, book collector and bookseller who over many decades encouraged numerous young book collectors at the University. The prize is funded by Anthony Davis in his memory.

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