Humanities Writing Competition

The Humanities Writing Competition is run annually for any Year 12 (or equivalent) students with interests in the Humanities. the 2018-19 competition is currently open, and will close on March 15th 2019.

The Humanities Writing Competition is based on five objects from the College’s small antiquities museum. Named after a Girton student, the Lawrence Room contains Anglo-Saxon finds from the College grounds, Egyptian material including the rare portrait mummy ‘Hermione’, and Mediterranean material from the Classical and pre-Classical worlds.

This competition is an opportunity for research and writing beyond the curriculum using one or more of the six objects as your 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.

Competition details and rules can be found here: HWC Information For Students. The cover sheet to be attached to submitted essays is here: 2018 19 Cover Sheet

An online Lawrence Room catalogue is available for use. Detailed pictures, descriptions and backgrounds of all the objects in the Lawrence Room collection are available to be browsed through, so please make use of it as an aid to your research.

2017-18 competition

Winners Olivia Sandhu, Molly Taylor, and Sophie Holloway pictured with Girton College Mistress Professor Susan J. Smith.

The prize-giving ceremony for the 2017-2018 finalists was held on Thursday 26 April, during which six students were welcomed to Girton College to celebrate their achievement.

On arrival, the group had the opportunity to browse the Lawrence Room with two of the College’s Fellows and judges of the competition, Dr Caroline Brett and Dr Gillian Jondorf, and view the objects that they had chosen to write their pieces on. Following this, Deasil Waltho, a Year 1 student studying Classics at Girton College, took the group on a tour of the buildings and grounds of Girton College, giving the finalists a chance to ask any questions they had on student life at Cambridge University. To conclude the afternoon the finalists were able to enjoy afternoon tea with the Mistress of Girton College, the judges of the competition, and Girton College Fellows in Stanley Library, the original college Library.

The winning entries from the 2017-2018 competition are now on display in the Lawrence Room, which is open to the public from 2pm-4pm on Thursdays.

Girton are grateful to Cambridge University Press and Miss C. Anne Wilson for their kind sponsorship of the competition.

For further information on the Humanities Writing Competition,  please email

To find out more about studying humanities subjects at Girton, please see the subject pages.


Humanities Writing Competition Co-ordinator
+44 (0)1223 338910