Maria Devlin, Bronxville High School Class of 2007, has won a Harvard University 2016-2017 Bowdoin Prize for Graduate Essays in the English Language. Funded by the bequest of Governor James Bowdoin, A.B. 1745, the Bowdoin Prizes are some of Harvard’s oldest and most prestigious student awards. They are designed to recognize essays “of originality and high literary merit, written in a way that engages both specialists and non-specialists.” Devlin’s essay, “Is All Well that Ends Well? Animals and End-Based Ethics in Marston’s The Dutch Courtesan and Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well,” puts her in the company of previous winners Ralph Waldo Emerson, former Harvard presidents Charles Eliot and Nathan Pusey, historians Henry Adams and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and novelist John Updike. The prize comes with an award of $10,000.
Devlin expects to receive the Ph.D. in English in May 2017 from Harvard, where she specializes in Renaissance drama. She is currently working for Pulitzer Prize-winning professor Stephen Greenblatt on the creation of the HarvardX online course Shakespeare’s World, of which the first module, Hamlet’s Ghost, is now live.
Devlin graduated summa cum laude in 2011 from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she double-majored in mathematics and English. At UNC-Chapel Hill she held the Thomas Wolfe Scholarship, a full merit scholarship for creative writing given to an incoming freshman “with exceptional literary ability and promise,” and won the 2011 James L. Whitfield, Jr., Memorial Prize for best undergraduate honors thesis in English.