Calling all Y10 and 11 and A-level English Literature students!

The Thomas Hardy Society Essay Competition

Open to Y10 and 11 and A-level students.

Write an essay of 2000-3000 words on a chosen aspect of the work and legacy of Thomas Hardy.
You could consider…

  • is Thomas Hardy’s writing relevant to today’s world? For example, what does Tess of the d’Urbervilles have to say to the #MeToo movement? What does Hardy’s concern for the natural world mean in the context of today’s debates about the environment and its relation to illness and well-being?

  • how might one of Hardy’s characters experience life in the 21st century? Imagine yourself into the character of Tess, Jude, Michael Henchard, or any one of Hardy’s many invented people.

  • how do other poets and writers use Hardy’s example in their own work? Is Hardy’s voice an inspiration, or something to struggle with? If you are a writer yourself, does Hardy stimulate your writing?

You’re also welcome to offer an essay on any particular novel or selection of poems, which could be based on coursework on Hardy that you are already undertaking.

Send your essay by 30 April 2019 to students@hardysociety.org accompanied by a letter from your school confirming it is your own work for a chance to win £50 in Amazon vouchers for yourself and £50 for your school library.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Andrew Hewitt at students@hardysociety.org

Notes and Guidance

The Thomas Hardy Society, one of the world’s largest literary societies, was founded in 1968 to promote understanding and celebration of the works of Thomas Hardy. For the first time ever the Society is sponsoring an essay competition for Y10 and 11 and A-level students in the UK, or students abroad who are taking UK examinations (GCSE, IGCSE, or A-level).

Prize: £50 voucher for the winner and £50 voucher for their school library

Students: You are invited to contribute essays of 2000-3000 words on any aspect of the work and legacy of Thomas Hardy. Suggested topics include:

  • What is the relevance of Thomas Hardy’s writing to today’s world? For example, what does Tess of the d’Urbervilles have to say to the #MeToo movement? What does Hardy’s concern for the natural world mean in the context of today’s debates about the environment and its relation to illness and well-being?

  • How might one of Hardy’s characters experience life in the 21st century? Imagine yourself into the character of Tess, Jude, Michael Henchard, or any one of Hardy’s many invented people.

  • How do other poets and writers use Hardy’s example in their own work? Is Hardy’s voice an inspiration, or something to struggle with? If you are a writer yourself, does Hardy stimulate your writing?

You are also welcome to offer a critical essay on any particular novel or selection of poems. This could be based on coursework on Hardy that you are already undertaking.

Deadline: 30 April 2019

Although appropriate critical practices and conventions should be followed, the judges will be looking for passion and originality as much as for critical maturity and depth. Entries will be judged in May so that the winner and any runners-up can be informed by mid-June.

Please type your entries double-spaced on numbered pages with your surname, the name of your school, and your year at the bottom of each page, and attach a covering letter signed by your teacher or appropriate school official certifying the essay to be your own work. Please send your entries and any queries about the competition to:  students@hardysociety.org
If you cannot submit your entry electronically, you may post or deliver it in an envelope marked ‘Essay Competition’ to:

The Thomas Hardy Society,
c/o Dorchester Town Council,
19 North Square,
Dorchester,
DT1 1XA

The winner will also receive free membership for one year in the Thomas Hardy Society and the possibility of publication in one of the journals of the Hardy Society.

Teachers: Please feel free to encourage as many of your students as wish to take part. We ask that you provide a covering letter with each entry, certifying that the entry is the original work of the named author, who is a student at your school.

The Thomas Hardy Society is interested in engaging with schools and can offer workshops and enrichment activities for English Literature students at Y10 and 11 and A-level, or those considering an English Literature qualification. Please contact us for more information!

 

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