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Humanities Writing Competition

Opportunity for Year 12 students to research & write beyond the curriculum

Humanities Writing Competition

This annual competition is an opportunity for students to research and write beyond the curriculum, using one or more of the Lawrence Room museum objects, as their focus. Essays or creative responses (such as dramatic monologues or short stories) are equally welcome. We are looking for the ability to connect different areas of knowledge, to think about details and to communicate clearly.

Open to: UK students in Year 12 (or equivalent - S5/ Y13 - N.I) who have an interest in the Humanities. 

Prizes: Up to £200 cash and books to the value of £200 from Cambridge University Press, the latter to be shared between the winning entrant/s and their school/s. The prize fund may be divided between winning entrants.

The competition is currently open!

Note: There is a maximum of three entries per school.

Link to enter -

Deadline for entries: 5pm, Friday 15th March 2024

Previous competition winners

First prize: Lara Orlandi (St Paul’s Girls’ School, London)

For ‘The Significance of Feng Huang Symbolism in Chinese Architecture’: a full, scholarly and beautifully illustrated account of the belief-system that informed the phoenix roof tile.

Second prize: Miranda Black (Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge)

For ‘Coptic Tunic Fragment: A Woven Essay’: an intriguing piece, half essay, half story, literally weaving together very different ‘strands’ of knowledge to create an imaginative whole.

Third prize: Rosetta Millar (Harris Westminster Sixth Form)

For ‘Phoenix Ridge Tile, The Lawrence Room’: an impressively researched essay with excellent use of images, bringing in a comparison with the modern artist Ai-Wei Wei as an unexpected bonus.

Denis Morine (King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford)

‘Decoration, Deities, and Drinking: Delving into Ancient Sport and the Aryballos’: an original and well sustained argument about the contrasting attitudes to sport symbolised by Athena’s owl and the panther of Dionysos.

Oliver Laxton (Woodbridge School)

‘A Cornucopia of Cockerels’ showing great enthusiasm for the subject, this essay contained wide-ranging research around the significance of these birds in ancient Greek art. 

It was most enjoyable to welcome four of the five prizewinners to the college on 9 May to receive their prizes from the Mistress and to be given a tour of the Lawrence Room Museum and of the college. Many thanks to Girton Classics students Zac Copeland-Greene(former competition winner), Jack Hitchcock and Anouska Cowen for leading the tour.

Girton is grateful to Cambridge University Press and The C. Anne Wilson Fund for kind sponsorship of the competition.

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