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2018 Patrick Tolfree Student Essay Competition

March 10, 2018

Category: Featured |



Welcome to this year's Patrick Tolfree essay competition, open to students of any academic level over the age of 18 and living anywhere in the world. This competition was inaugurated in honour of the late Patrick Tolfree, author of monographs, avid Hardyan and a tireless promoter of Hardy's life and works within local schools. The essay topic is broad and will change each year, but must be related to Hardy and his works.

The theme for the competition this year is 'Hardy and the Senses', and is intended to encourage consideration of the various uses and representations of perception within Hardy's oeuvre. Essays of not more than 4000 words in length are warmly invited. They may focus on, but are by no means limited to, the following:

  • The role of any or all of the senses in conveying knowledge or insight into or within Hardy's works

  • The enjoyment of the senses in Hardy

  • The possible significance of moments of synaesthesia (a blending of the senses such as feeling colours and tasting sounds)

  • The registration of extra-sensory or non-human perception

  • The work of hearing, touching, seeing, smelling and tasting in literary or artistic interpretation

  • The changing 'taste' for Hardy among readers and what it means to be 'touched' by a literary work

Any aspect of Hardy's prolific output may be focussed upon, whether it be the novels, short stories, poems, essays, or his contribution to architecture. The closing date for submissions is 30 September 2018. The winner will receive a prize of £250 along with one year's free membership of the Thomas Hardy Society, and will have the pleasure of seeing their essay published in the Hardy Society Journal.

Please send submissions and enquiries to Tracy Hayes, THS Student Co-Ordinator, at


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