Arts honours graduate from the University of Melbourne, James de Jesus Correia, has been announced as the first recipient of the Sir Terry Pratchett Scholarshipestablished at the University of South Australia in 2015.
A social science student with a passion for literature and international studies, Correia is keen to build on themes from the 22nd book in Pratchett’s Discworld series The Last Continent, published in 1998.
Brim full of parodies of Australian people and cultural icons both recent and historical, the book also deals with notions of time and space.
“I am interested in the exploration of how these notions of bending time and space relate to Australian identity and our response to asylum seekers,” Correia says.
As one of the most pressing concerns of recent times with, according to UNHCR data more than 60 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, the research will bring together cultural and literary studies with social theory to examine the issues.
“What is fantastic about this scholarship opportunity is that I will be able to challenge my interpretations across two academic environments and in two different countries,” Correia says.
“Social science research is always enhanced by global perspectives.”
The $100,000 scholarship will support Correia to undertake a Masters by research at UniSA’s Hawke Research Institute and at Trinity College Dublin Long Room Hub – covering the cost of travel and accommodation and including a stipend and support for research costs.
Announcing the recipient following a special memorial event in London to honour Sir Terry, UniSA Vice Chancellor Prof David Lloyd said he was delighted to see the first scholarship awarded.
“Terry’s extraordinary gift constitutes the largest student scholarship of its kind in the history of the University of South Australia,” Prof Lloyd said.
“A year on from his death, it is satisfying to be able to award the scholarship to such a worthy candidate and someone who is taking on a deep examination of some of the core themes in Australian society.
“Terry was committed to inquiry and to learning and he didn’t shy away from uncomfortable ideas.
“As James’ research evolves, I think he will be shedding light on some difficult aspects of Australia’s cultural identity and development, aspects that are important to question and understand.”
Speaking after Sir Terry’s public memorial service in London, Sir Terry Pratchett’s business manager Rob Wilkins said he was delighted with the announcement.
“Everyone associated with Terry and the Discworld Foundation is pleased that the memorial scholarship is up and running and with an outstanding inaugural recipient,” Wilkins said.
“I know that Terry would be delighted to see his legacy expanded in this way, through higher education.”
The Sir Terry Pratchett Perpetual Scholarship fund, from which a scholarship is awarded every two years, was bequeathed to the University of South Australia in accordance with the author’s wishes.