George Celebrates Success in Two National Essay Competitions
Congratulations to Upper Sixth student and School Captain George Oates, who celebrates success in not one, but two prestigious essay competitions.
George achieved Second place out of over 600 entries in the English category of the National Essay Competition run by New College of the Humanities. George’s essay responded to the question, ‘Is literature always a force for good?’.
George said: “At first it felt surreal to have done so well in such a highly competitive national competition, but once it had sunk in, I was elated. I was initially drawn to the competition due to the polarising nature of the question; I ended up arguing against the statement as few things can ever ‘always’ be anything. The open nature of the question meant I could explore a variety of textual sources. I was particularly drawn to fictional works including those of Orwell, Wedekind and Evaristo as well as looking at the question from a theoretical stance using the work of critics Lorna Hardwick and Charles Martindale. I concluded that, while literature can be abused and have negative repercussions, ultimately the majority of texts have inherent worth and can help to foster the growth of a more aware, knowledgeable and empathetic person.”
George has also been awarded Highly Commended in the Summer Essay Writing Competition organised by Exeter College, Oxford University. George wrote an essay entitled ‘Is it time to re-evaluate the uses of the terms fiction and non-fiction?’. He received the following feedback from Exeter College:
“This is an excellent essay, which grapples with the real-world limitations the terms ‘fiction’ and ‘non-fiction’ impose upon both texts and readers. This paper handles a number of very timely issues, exploring them with depth, confidence, and style. The author’s grasp of a range of world literature and theory is especially impressive, as is the way this knowledge is used to explore questions around the ethics of reading, and decolonisation. I learned a lot reading this essay – and it was a real pleasure to read!”
To have been so successful in two national essay competitions of this calibre is truly impressive and George will be applying to study English Literature at Oxford University this term.