Winner’s story: Agnieszka Sobocinska

Patricia Grimshaw Prize (Australian Historical Studies)

“A prize like this represents much more than just a line on a CV.”

Picture of Agnieszka SobocinskaI am absolutely delighted to be the recipient of the inaugural Patricia Grimshaw Prize. Awarded for the best article to appear in Australian Historical Studies over a two-year period, the prize is obviously a great honor. I am extremely grateful to the judges, the journal’s editors and to Professor Patricia Grimshaw for establishing the prize.

In truth, I was happy enough to be shortlisted, appearing alongside three historians whom I consider to be at the very forefront of the field. I have great esteem for their work, so I was genuinely shocked when I discovered (via Twitter!) that the judges had decided on my article, “Visiting the neighbours: the political meanings of Australian travel to cold war Asia.” I was sitting on a plane, buckled into my seatbelt and well aware of the fact that my phone should already have been switched off. Just before I did, I took a screenshot of the tweet, and checked back over the course of the ten-hour flight just to make sure I hadn’t hallucinated the whole thing.

Doing history is intensely time-consuming. Countless hours are devoted to research, analysis, and writing, and countless more go into rewriting, editing, resubmitting, and re-editing before an article is ready for publication. While no historian in their right mind expects be showered with glory, the rare moments when hard work is acknowledged by respected peers can be truly rewarding. For this reason, a prize like this represents much more than a line on a CV.

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