Writing Competition

The College of Arts and Law is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Writing Competition.

Following the prize giving ceremony which took place on Tuesday the 21st of March 2017, we are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s CAL Writing Competition:

  • Undergraduate Winner: Megan Wilson-Taylor, BA English Literature
    For her piece in response to the question: ‘How will today’s 8 year olds want to study in 2026 and what will they want to learn?’
    You can read Megan’s work here.
  • Undergraduate Runner Up: Elizabeth Costley, BA English Literature
    For her piece on Victoria Wood in response to the question: ‘Culturally, we lost many great writers, actors and musicians in 2016.  Write about someone who you will miss.’
    You can read Elizabeth’s work here. 
  • Undergraduate Highly Commended: Rebecca Cutler, BA English Literature
    For her piece in response to the question: ‘How will today’s 8 year olds want to study in 2026 and what will they want to learn?’
    You can read Rebecca’s work here
  • Postgraduate Winner: Carmen Thompson, MA African Studies and Anthropology
    For her piece on the kind of equality we want to achieve in response to the question: ‘I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st Century.’ (Hillary Clinton) Do you concur?
    You can read Carmen’s work here.

We would also like to take the opportunity to thank the judges who gave up their time to deliberate the winning entries. Dr Ruth Gilligan (Department of Film & Creative Writing), Dr Herjeet Marway (Department of Philosophy), Nicola Taylor (Birmingham Education Fellow - Birmingham Teaching Academy), Karen Jackson (Academic Liaison Learning and Research Support) and Helen Murray (CAL Student Experience Manager).

Congratulations to the winners and we hope that their efforts will inspire students throughout the college to enter next year.

Additional information for submission

Word Limit

Entries should not exceed 500 words.  Please state the number of words used at the end of your piece of submitted writing.

Format

Entries should take the form of a newspaper editorial or opinion piece rather than an academic essay. Footnotes and bibliographies are not expected.

Eligibility

You must be registered as a current undergraduate or postgraduate taught student in the College of Arts and Law for the 2016-17 academic year.

Method of Submission

Competition entries should be written in English and submitted via email as follows:

Please add your student ID number to each page of your entry. Your name should not appear anywhere on your entry as all entries will be judged anonymously.

Judging Criteria

You are allowed to submit one entry only. Your entry must be your own work. Competition entries will be judged on their interest, originality, clarity, style and structure. Entries will be judged by a panel chaired by either the College Director of Education, the Deputy Director of Education or their nominee and the winners and runners up will be announced at a prize-giving reception on Tuesday 21 March 2017 at 17:00 - all entrants are warmly encouraged to attend this event. The judges’ decisions will be final.  The judges reserve the right not to award the prizes. The judges will not enter into correspondence about the outcome. No alternative prizes will be offered. With their authors’ consent, the winning entries will be published on the College of Arts and Law’s website and may be used in University publications.  

Previous competitions

2015/2016 competition

The topics for the 2016 Writing Competition were as follows:

  • For undergraduate students:
    ‘How important is your memory in your approach to your studies and what creative strategies do you employ to improve it?’
  • For taught postgraduate students:
    “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” (Benjamin Franklin)  Do you agree?

The winners were announced as part of an Arts and Science Festival panel discussion event on Wednesday 16 March 2016.  The panel members, who discussed how memory and forgetting was important in their area of work, were: Charlotta Salmi, English Literature, Ruth Whittle, Modern Languages, Tamara West, Ironbridge and Isabel Wollaston, Theology and Religion.

Undergraduate

The winner, who won an iPad, was Sarah Armes, who is studying on the BA African Studies with Development programme for her entry describing her semester abroad in Ghana. The judges found her piece engaging from the start and admired how she reflected on the learning strategies she employed. They also enjoyed her use of humour.

The runner up, who won £50 of book tokens, was Anna Stileman who is studying on the BA History of Art programme for her entry describing how she memorises information for an exam. The judges felt that this was an original, clever piece that had been carefully thought out and was well-focused on the topic.

Postgraduate Taught

The winner, who won an iPad, was William Peart, who is studying on the MA History programme, for his entry describing his guitar lessons with a young pupil. The judges enjoyed the storytelling element and the humour of this piece and thought it was both cleverly done and powerful.

The runner up, who won £50 of book tokens, was Liz Kemp, who is studying on the MA in Film and Television programme, for her poem ‘The Forgotten Lives’ about dementia. The judges felt that this was a very original, personal and moving response to the topic and praised the brilliant use of rhyming couplets.

The judges also wished to highly commend Justine Pick’s entry. Justine, who is studying on the MA in West Midlands History programme, wrote about Franklin’s links with Birmingham’s Lunar Society.

2014/2015 competition

Prizes were awarded as part of an Arts & Science Festival Panel Debate on Monday 16 March 2015, which debated the taught postgraduate question.

The questions were as follows:

  • For undergraduate students: ‘What role should government play in education?’
  • For taught postgraduate students: ‘Can fiction generate social change?’

Undergraduate winners

The winner, who won an iPad, was Thurstan Russell, who is studying for a BA in English Language.

The runner up, who won £50 of book tokens, was Amy McMillan, who is studying for a BA in English.

Postgraduate winners

The winner, who won an iPad, was Koumarah Appadoo, who is studying for the LLM (General).

The runner up, who won £50 of book tokens, was Jill Gurney, who is studying for an MA in the Philosophy of Health and Happiness.

2013/2014 competition

Prizes were awarded as part of an Arts & Science Festival Panel Debate on Wednesday 19 March 2014, which debated the undergraduate question.

Undergraduate winners

The winner, who won an iPad, was Joanne Walton, who is studying for a BA in English with Creative Writing.
UG Writing Competition winner 2013-14 (PDF - 76KB)

The runner up, who won £50 of book tokens, was Ellicia Pendle, who is studying for a BA in English Literature and History.
UG Writing Competition runner-up 2013-14 (PDF - 92KB)

Postgraduate winners

The winner, who won an iPad, was Philip Johnson, who is studying for an MA in TEFL by distance and who lives in Korea.
PGT Writing Competition winner 2013-14 (PDF - 124KB)

The runner up, who won £50 of book tokens, was Austin Gardiner, who is studying for an MA in Applied Linguistics by distance and who lives in Japan.
PGT Writing Competition runner-up 2013-14 (PDF - 124KB)

2012/2013 competition

In 2012-13, the College of Arts and Law ran two Essay Writing Competitions.