Humanities Writing Competition: Girton College, Cambridge

This competition is for Lower Sixth Form students and is aimed at anyone with interests in the Humanities. It is based on six 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 is an opportunity for research and writing beyond the curriculum, and essays or creative responses (such as poems 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.

If you’d like to advertise the competition in your school, you can download a poster.

Object Pictures and Information

Here are examples of issues raised by the six 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.

  • Burial and survival
  • The moment of discovery
  • Women’s Education
  • Human and Animal forms
  • The past as a ‘foreign country’
  • The idea of a museum

Competition Rules

  • 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.
  • 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 Assistant, Girton College, Cambridge, CB3 0JG with a completed cover sheet.
  • Teachers must sign the cover sheet to certify that the submissions is the entrant’s own work and does not replicate anything submitted for examination.

Cover Sheet

Closing date

The closing date for entries to be received by the College is 16th March 2012.


The competition has the kind sponsorship of Cambridge University Press. The prize, a free choice of two books from the CUP catalogue, one for the winning candidate and one for their school, will be presented by the Mistress at Girton College in May 2012. Runners up will also be invited to the College.

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.

For further information about the study of Humanities subjects at Girton, please see the subject pages.

Further Enquiries

Please email any further enquiries to