A Level English Literature Competition

Ashbourne hosts an annual English Literature Essay Competition inviting GCSE and A-level students across the world to compete for prizes.

Entrants are asked to write an essay on a different question each year, which is assessed by a panel of judges. A shortlist is then created of the best responses, the authors of which are asked to attend an interview with the Competition Panel. Once all those shortlisted have been interviewed a winner is selected.

  • First prize – £500
  • Runner up prize (up to 10 entrants) – £50
  • Scholarship interviews – in addition to receiving a cash prize, successful entrants will also have the opportunity to undertake an interview for the Ashbourne College Scholarship Programme, should they wish to apply.

Competition criteria and requirements

Essays will be judged on the following:

  • Quality of argument
  • Quality of English
  • Literary knowledge
  • Use of terminology
  • Literary analysis

The main focus of the essay should be on material not previously or currently being studied by the entrant as part of their GCSE or A-Level study. Entrants may refer to topics that will be studied in future so long as, at the time of the closing date, the entrant has received no formal tuition on the topic in question.

Entrants must focus on one single text in their essay, however others may be referenced to support their argument on the main text. Entrants are advised that the text selected must be an established literary work of fiction, originally written in English. This can be a novel, play or poem.

The essay must include a bibliography, and any secondary sources used should be referenced following either Harvard or MLA referencing systems.

Candidates that are successfully shortlisted will be invited to attend an online interview with a member of Ashbourne’s Competition Panel to discuss their submission in more detail and verify the legitimacy of their work.

Entry requirements

  • Entrants must be aged between 14 and 18 years old and have not yet commenced their studies at university.
  • Entrants name, school and date of birth should appear on the first page of the essay. Please also add page numbers to the essay.
  • Essays must be submitted as a PDF.
  • No late submissions – essays submitted after the deadline will not be considered under any circumstances.
  • Once essays have been submitted it is not possible to make changes; please ensure you are happy with your work before submitting it.

Submission and deadline

Shortlist interview

Shortlisted entrants will be required to take part in an interview to discuss their submission. Entrants are expected to answer questions and elaborate on their submission and are advised to re-familiarise themselves with their essay prior to the interview. This is an essential part of the selection process and any entrant who does not attend this interview cannot receive a prize.

Please contact Ashbourne if you have any queries:

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