Keats Essay Prize Competition

19th October 2019

Sixth-form and undergraduate students from across Hampshire gathered at Winchester College on Saturday 19 October for a prize-giving ceremony and celebration of John Keats. It is 200 years since the poet wrote his famous poem ‘To Autumn’ after walking through the water meadows that run past the school.

Winchester College ran an essay competition, in association with the Keats Foundation and the University of Winchester, that asked local pupils to write about poems from Keats’ ‘living year’ 1819. The competition was open to all and we were delighted by the high-standard of the entries. Students from St. Swithun’s School, Winchester College, and the University of Winchester claimed the top prizes.

The prize-giving included talks by the eminent Keats scholar and biographer, Professor Nicholas Roe, Reader at the University of St. Andrews, and Dr Gary Farnell from the University of Winchester. After the awards, guests visited the school’s Treasury, which currently has an exhibition on Keats and his contemporaries, before enjoying an afternoon tea.

We were also grateful to the support of independent bookshop, P&G Wells, for their prize donations.

“The context means everything, it defines how one ought to read the poem. The talks by the two professors captured this and helped me understand how this could be used. I am grateful that they considered my essay of good enough quality to gain this distinction.”

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