Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Morales-Franceschini wins MLA book prize

Alan Flurry

The Modern Language Association of America announced its thirty-third annual Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize for an outstanding book published in English or Spanish in the field of Latin American and Spanish literatures and cultures. The winner is Éric Morales-Franceschini, associate professor of English and Latin American and Caribbean studies in the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, for The Epic of Cuba Libre: The Mambí, Mythopoetics, and Liberation, published by the University of Virginia Press. 

The selection committee’s citation describes Morales-Franceschini’s book as "Innovative and methodically daring, Éric Morales-Franceschini’s The Epic of Cuba Libre: The Mambí, Mythopoetics, and Liberation offers an urgently needed new perspective on Cuban history. His nuanced analysis of race, gender, and memory in the construction of the Afro-Cuban mambí as archetype in the cultural imaginary across a range of narrative forms (literature, hymns, textbooks, art, history, politics, film, hip-hop, graffiti, and town festivals, among others), delivered in elegant prose, makes for a moving, learned, and insightful new understanding of the forces at play in Cuba’s shaping of an aesthetics of liberation."

"It felt like a longshot, to put it mildly," Morales-Franceschini said. "The competition for this award is international and against scholars at all ranks, including those publishing their most mature academic studies. Above all, I'm pleased that the book's theoretical and methodological innovations have been validated. The prevailing perspectives on Cuba are so ideologically fraught and unimaginative. Cuba and Cubans deserve better."

The Epic of Cuba Libre: The Mambí, Mythopoetics, and Liberation also won the 2023 Cultural Studies Association First Book Award earlier this year.

"The fact that Dr. Morales-Franceschini's book was recognized by two major awards in the same year is a great testament to the exceptional quality of his work," said Roland Végső, professor and head of the UGA department of English. "The Modern Language Association is the primary professional association representing our discipline with over 25,000 members in 100 countries. This is a truly impressive accomplishment."

The Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize was established in 1990 by a gift from Joseph and Mimi B. Singer, parents of the late Katherine Singer Kovacs. The prize is one of twenty-two awards that will be presented on 5 January 2024 during the association’s annual convention, to be held in Philadelphia. 
The award consists of a check in the amount of $1,000 and will be presented at the January 2024 convention in Philadelphia during the awards ceremony. 




Support Franklin College

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Click here to learn more about giving.