Humanities Writing Competition

This competition is for Year 12 (or equivalent) students and is aimed at anyone with interests in the Humanities. It 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.

An online Lawrence Room catalogue is now 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

The 2017-2018 competition has now closed. Thank you to all those who submitted entries. Please see the attached for further information about the 2017-2018 competition and the selected five objects.

Possible themes:

Here are examples of issues raised by the five objects, which are offered as starting points for thought from any angle you choose, with reference to any texts, periods or other contexts you are interested in.

  •    Bodies, female and male
  •    Vision and transparency
  •    Animals- friend or foe?
  •    Funeral rites


Competition Rules and Deadline

  • The word limit is 1800 words (though creative writing in particular may be shorter). Include a word count, and a list of references if applicable.
  • There is a limit of 3 entries per school.
  • Submissions must relate to one or more of the Lawrence Room objects.
  • Submissions should be typed in English in a standard font, lines 1.5 spaced, and every page should be marked with the entrant’s name.
  • Submissions are to be posted to: Schools Liaison Officer, Girton College, Cambridge, CB3 0JG to arrive by Friday 16th March 2018 with a completed cover sheet. Teachers must sign this to certify that the submission is the entrant’s own work and does not replicate anything submitted for examination.



The prize fund, which may be divided between several winners, consists of £100 cash and £200-worth of books from Cambridge University Press, each prize to be shared between the winning entrants and their schools. Funding is provided by the kind sponsorship of Cambridge University Press and Miss C. Anne Wilson, sponsor of the Wilson Bursary fund for Classics students at Girton. The prizes will be presented by the Mistress at Girton College in late April/early May 2017. Runners up will also be invited.

This year’s winning entries will be put on display in the Lawrence Room, to enhance visitors’ experience of our collection (subject to the entrants’ approval).

Receipt of your essay will be acknowledged by email. It will not be possible to provide feedback on all the essays, nor to return them, so do ensure you keep a copy. The judges reserve the right not to award prizes if there is no entry of sufficient merit.

Generalised feedback on the 2016-2017 competition round can be found here.

For further information, please email

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


Schools Liaison Officer
+44 (0)1223 338910