Essay Prize 2016-17

**DEADLINE EXTENDED!** New deadline: 24th March 2017
Our Essay Prize is back and we're delighted to announce our judge this year is the iconic broadcaster and acerbic host of Newsnight and University Challenge, Jeremy Paxman
He wants to know....

Who is your favourite villain in literature and why?

Is it, say, the manipulative Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair or the charming – but amoral – Tom Ripley from The Talented Mr Ripley? Or perhaps you love to loathe Mrs Danvers from Rebecca or Claudius from Hamlet?
Whoever it is, you now have the opportunity to make your case. The competition this year is open to ALL sixth-form students and the question is open to interpretation. The character can come from anywhere in literature and not necessarily from an English text.
The prize is £250, a full set of 50 Connell Guides and your essay published. Two runners up will receive a £100 gift card to spend at Connell Guides.
CRITERIA:
• Your essay should combine insight, originality and clarity.
• You need to address your chosen subject with argumentative energy, showing why this character 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.
The entries will be shortlisted by a panel chaired by Jolyon Connell, founder of Connell Guides. Jeremy Paxman will choose the winner and runners-up.

Click here to submit your essay

The closing date for entries is 24th March 2017. To read last year's winning entries, click here
Here are renowned writers William Boyd and Robert Harris – both past judges of our Essay Prize – talking about the merits of the competition and what they like about Connell Guides: