The Principal and Fellows of St Hugh’s College, Oxford are pleased to be offering two or more prizes, worth up to £300 each, for the best essays on classical reception or influence by pupils who, at the closing date, have been in the Sixth Form of any school or college for a period of not more than two years. At least one prize will be awarded to a pupil who is studying neither Latin nor Ancient Greek to A-level standard.
Essays may stem from any discipline and should be on a topic relating to the reception or influence of classical antiquity in any period of history, up to and including the present day. Candidates may wish to discuss the reception of Greek and Roman literature, history, political thought, philosophy, or material remains in their chosen period; essays on reception within classical antiquity (for instance, responses to literary or artistic works, or to mythical or historical figures) are also permitted.
Entries should be 2,000 – 4,000 words in length, and are to be submitted as a Microsoft Word document, together with the Mary Renault Prize cover sheet, through the online form.
The closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday 28th July 2023.
Prize winners will be announced online by the end of September.
Please direct any enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Juliet Hadari, Year 12, Renaissance Arts Conservatoire, for her essay entitled: The Spartacus story as balletic propaganda in the Soviet Union
Beatrix Arnold, Year 12, St Mary’s Calne, for her essay entitled: abusus non tollit usum: The Weaponisation of the Classics
Livia Kandel, Year 12, South Hampstead High School, for her essay entitled: How and why do the characters of Jocasta, Antigone & Ismene differ between Children of Jocasta (Natalie Haynes) and the Oedipus myth by Sophocles?
Barbara Dooley, Year 12, Magdalen College School, for her essay entitled: Discussion on the reception of Greek and Latin literature in Plato and Seamus Heaney
Holly Bradley, Year 12, Caterham School, for her essay entitled: A vehicle for expression and the re-writing of myth: Michael Field’s reception of Sappho in ‘Long Ago’
Mary Renault Prize Submissions Form
Please use this form to upload your submission for the Mary Renault Prize.
Classics at St Hugh's
St Hugh’s College
Founded in 1886, St Hugh’s is now one of the largest colleges in Oxford. The College was established to offer an Oxford education to women, and it retains a strong sense of its radical tradition and of the importance of opening Oxford up to all who would do well here. St Hugh’s now accepts men and women, and welcomes students from every country and any kind of background.
St Hugh’s has a beautiful setting just to the north of the city centre, with Edwardian buildings and some of the largest college grounds. The College is known as the ‘island site’ because of its tranquil gardens, and it is a restful place to live and work.
Studying Classics at St Hugh’s College
St Hugh’s College admits between 4 and 6 undergraduates a year to read Single and Joint Honours Classics. We accept students applying for the majority of schools, including: Classics I, Classics II, Classics and English, Classics and Modern Languages and Classics and Oriental Studies.
What we look for in potential applicants is the ability to think independently, a willingness to argue, a real interest in ideas, and a commitment to the subject. We have no preference for particular subjects at A-level, International Baccalaureate or Pre-U, welcoming both pre- and post- qualification applications.
St Hugh’s provides excellent facilities for studying Classics: the 24-hour library has unusually large and up-to-date holdings in all periods, and, as much of an undergraduate student’s academic timetable will be spent in College, the Library becomes invaluable. Our Classics Tutorial Fellow, Professor Tim Rood, has recently been awarded the prestigious Leverhulme Research Grant for a project entitled ‘Anachronism and Antiquity.’
Classics is a wide-ranging degree, devoted to the study of the literature, history, philosophy, languages and archaeology of the Ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Oxford has the largest Classics department in the world, with outstanding teaching, library and museum resources, including the Sackler and Bodleian Libraries, the Ashmolean Museum and designated Classics Centre. The University’s Classics II degree is aimed at encouraging students who have not previously studied Ancient Greek or Latin at school, but are interested in the subject at a Higher Education level.
For further information concerning these choices please see our course pages, or visit the University’s webpages.
This biography below is taken from the St Hugh’s College exhibition, recently on show in the Howard Piper Library.
‘Eileen Mary Challans was born on 4th Sept 1905, the daughter of Frank Challans, a medical practitioner. She attended Romford House School, Forest Gate, and Clifton High School, Bristol before matriculating at St Hugh’s in Oct 1925 to read English Language and Literature, obtaining a BA (III) in 1928.
During her time at St Hugh’s, she developed a love of ancient Greece, Crete and Macedon – a setting which resurfaced in many of her novels. Although she had initially intended to become a teacher, in 1933, after a period of illness, she returned to Oxford and became a nurse at the Radcliffe Infirmary, obtaining a nursing degree in 1936. Here she met her lifelong partner, Julie Mullard.
She published her first novel, a hospital romance called Purposes of Love, in 1939, under the pseudonym Mary Renault, the name by which she became known. She continued to write and publish whilst nursing during WWII and her novels developed overtly homosexual themes, which she treated honestly and sympathetically. Her sixth and last non-historical novel, The Charioteer, was published in 1953. Mary moved on to writing historical novels set in Ancient Greece, eventually publishing eight, the first being The Last of the Wine in 1956 and the last Funeral Games in 1981.
Although her portrayals of homosexuality provoked outrage in British society at the time, MGM presented her an award for her 4th novel, Return to Night, and she was able to afford to emigrate with Julie to South Africa in 1948, never to return to England. They both became South African citizens and were involved in the early anti-apartheid movement.’