Calling all aspiring writers! After the success of our first undergraduate essay competition, The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies is delighted to launch its second iteration. Whether you’re a budding historian, philosopher, or philologist, a film critic or book reviewer, or just an enthusiast for all things Greek, we want to hear from you! Maybe you spent lockdown binging on film adaptations of Greek tragedies – tell us what you thought! Or maybe it was Assassin’s Creed Odyssey that’s gotten you through the last few months – how well do representations of Greece work in a game like this? Or perhaps you’d like to share some of your own research with a wider audience. If so, send us a 1,200 word essay on a topic related to the Greek world for a chance to win some great prizes.

The winning entry will be published in ARGO, the Society’s general-audience magazine, and the winning author will be paid a £100 author’s fee. The winner and two runners up will receive free membership of the Society for one year.


-You should write a 1,200 word essay about any aspect of the Greek world – literature, history, philosophy, ancient, or modern – it’s up to you! Providing your piece discusses the culture of Greece (whether ancient, Byzantine, or modern), you are eligible to enter.

-Alongside discussions of academic subjects, you are welcome to submit things like book reviews, exhibition reviews, film reviews, theatre reviews, game reviews, and travel writing. Fresh discussions of academic topics were particularly successful last year.

-You should write for a general audience who are not specialists in the subject you are writing about. This means that you should avoid things like technical terminology or detailed discussion of what other scholars have said about a particular point. If you want to check that your writing is accessible, ask a friend who doesn’t know anything about Greece to read your article before you submit it.

-You should not submit work which you have submitted, or are planning to submit, as an assessed part of your degree.

-Any extracts or quotations from other works should be correctly attributed


-The winning entrant will see their piece published in ARGO, the society’s magazine, for which they will be paid an author’s fee of £100. They will also receive free membership of the Society for the year 2021. Membership includes a free copy of the The Journal of Hellenic Studies.

-Two runners up will receive free membership of the Society for the year 2021.


-The competition is open to anybody who has studied for an undergraduate degree in the calendar year 2020. Thus, it is open to:

a) Anybody currently studying for an undergraduate degree

b) Anybody who completed an undergraduate degree in 2020

c) Anybody who begins studying an undergraduate degree before the competition deadline

-The competition is open to students at any institution, in any country, and in any discipline

Submission of Entries

-Entries should be sent to Dr Stephen Harrison, the Membership Secretary, at [email protected]

-Entries should be submitted as either a Word document or a PDF

-You should include the name of an academic at your institution who will be able to confirm that you are, or were, an undergraduate student in 2020.

Closing Date

-The closing date for entries is 23.59 on the 13th November 2020

-Winners will be announced in mid-December 2020.

Please note that the Society will not be able to provide feedback on submissions.


Please send any enquiries to the membership secretary, Dr Stephen Harrison ([email protected]). Please allow five working days for a response.

Download the competition details as a Word document here: SPHS Undergraduate Essay Competition 2020.