“The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2013 is awarded the Canadian author Alice MUnro master of the contemporary short story.”
A new essay prize has been announced, aimed at students studying for A-Level.
The winning essay will be selected by Wlliam Boyd, from a shortlist selected by a panel of judges chaired by Jolyon Connell.
As outlined below, the deadline for entries is some way off, and no entries can be submitted until January 2014, but students may well wish to prepare their essay well ahead of exam practice and revision deadlines.
The first prize of £1000 and the kudos of having your work picked out by William Boyd should ensure significant interest in this new prize, which teachers will be able to highlight with a view to encouraging literary appreciation and the fluent expression of personal tastes and viewpoints.
The Connell Guides Essay Prize is open to any sixth form pupil studying English Literature as part of an AS Level, A Level or IB Course. There will be a prize of £1,000 for the winning essay. Each of five runners-up will receive a £100 book token.
The entries for this prize will be shortlisted by a panel chaired by Jolyon Connell. The winner and runners-up will be chosen by the novelist William Boyd.
What to write:
William Boyd wants to know which novel, play, or poem has made an impact on you, and why you find it interesting and enjoyable.
• Your essay should combine insight, originality and clarity.
• You need to address your chosen subject with argumentative energy, showing why it has made an impact on you. Essays need to show logic in the way they are structured and precision in their choice of words.
• You will be expected to take an original point of view, while making intelligent use of evidence found in and around your chosen text(s) – and, where appropriate, referencing the history and culture surrounding the text(s) to support your points.
• Essays must be between 1200 and 1500 words long.
We will accept submissions from January 6th, 2014. Full details of how to enter will be published here in December 2013.
The closing date for entries is March 28th, 2014. Winners will be announced here on May 2nd, 2014.
Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, writing in the Telegraph about the need for an increased awareness of the riches available in contemporary young adult literature:
The way forward is to remove the barriers between teenage fiction and the classics, to acknowledge that both have their role in encouraging reading for pleasure, and that those roles may overlap. The national curriculum today gives great leeway in choosing the books that are to be studied, but what that tends to mean is that the selection now falls not to examiners or ministers, nor to pupils, but to their teachers.
To make the most of these freedoms, teachers need to know about teenage writing. They must seize on the work of a new generation of writers for teenagers as a priceless teaching resource. Sadly, the Times Education Supplement’s recent survey of teachers’ top 100 books suggests that their knowledge of new writing is patchy. To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men remain the unimaginative staple diet for many.
This is where school librarians need to come to the curriculum’s rescue. As schools’ resident book experts, school librarians have never been so important as they will be in the next 18 months, as teachers look for support in finding the books that will teach the new curriculum.
The resources we have to inspire young people’s reading are greater and more profound than ever before. If we make the most of them, the results will be extraordinary for individuals and for society. And for the disadvantaged young people the NLT works with, reading is no less than a lifeline.