The award designates the outstanding essay in each volume of the Society's journal, Narrative. The Award is named in honor of James Phelan, Distinguished University Professor of English at the Ohio State University, who has served as editor of the journal since 1992.
Daniel Barlow, “Blues Narrative Form, African American Fiction, and the African Diaspora” (May 2016)
Honorable Mention: Erin McGlothlin, "Empathetic Identification and the Mind of the Holocaust Perpetrator in Fiction: A Proposed Taxonomy of Response" (October 2016)
Eva von Contzen, “Why the Middle Ages Do Not Need the Concept of Social Minds: Exemplarity and Collective Response” (Spring 2015)
Joshua Pederson, “Speak, Trauma: Toward a Revised Understanding of Literary Trauma and Theory.” (Fall 2014)
Birte Christ, Dorothee Birke, Ellen McCracken, and Paul Benzon, “Paratexts and Digital Narrative” (Winter 2013)
Michael Rothberg, “Progress, Progression, Procession: William Kentridge and the Narratology of Transitional Justice” (Winter 2012)
Silke Horstkotte and Nancy Pedri, “Focalization in Graphic Narrative” (Fall 2011)
Yael Shapira, "Hairball Speaks: Margaret Atwood and the Narrative Legacy of the Female Grotesque." (Winter 2010)
Molly Hite, "Tonal Cues and Uncertain Values: Affect and Ethics in Mrs. Dalloway." (Fall 2010)
Paul Dawson, "Return of Omniscience in Contemporary Fiction" (Spring 2009).
Helena Michie, "Victorian(ist) "Whiles" and the Tenses of Historicism" (Fall 2009).
Lucy Ferriss, "Uncle Charles Repairs to the A&P: Changes in Voice in the Recent American Short Story" (Spring 2008).
Greg Forter, "Freud, Faulkner, Caruth: Trauma and the Politics of Literary Form" (Fall 2007).
Dorothy J. Hale, "Fiction as Restriction: Self-Binding in New Ethical Theories of the Novel" (Spring 2007).
Margaret Homans, "Adoption Narratives, Trauma, and Origins" (Winter 2006).
Michael MacDonald, "Losing Spirit: Hegel, Levinas, and the Limits of Narrative" (Spring 2005).