Weekend Reading: Awards and Events

It’s that time of year again, when I encourage people to apply for awards, events and opportunities even though extra work is the very last thing they want right now, when the pressure of exams and coursework is piling on and they have no time for eating or sleeping. So here’s some more pressure. Enjoy!

First, the Undergraduate Awards. If you’re an undergraduate or a recent (within the last year) graduate, and you’ve been given a top grade for an essay, you can submit that essay to the Global Undergraduate Awards. It’s free to enter, and your essay will be sent to an international team of experts (known for their tremendous knowledge, wit and personal charm) for judging. The competition is fierce, so winning is a long shot: but if you’re Highly Commended it’s a certificate, a pat on the back and a nice thing to put on your CV, and you might be invited to attend the Awards Ceremony in Dublin (although that isn’t free!). But the deadline this year is the 11th of June, so if you want to enter you need to start thinking about it soon.




I think the Undergraduate Awards is a brilliant competition for Open University students to enter, because it helps people to realise that the work they produce as part-time, mature distance learners is just as good as the essays written in traditional full-time institutions – and sometimes even better. That’s why I’ve agreed to be a Judge on the Classics panel again this year. So if you have any questions about how to enter, just give me a shout – I’m happy to help! And here’s some advice I wrote last year for OU students.


So proud to be described as a ‘reputable academic’. That’s going on a T-shirt…


Second, there’s the Kassman Prize (OU students only). If you’re an OU Classical Studies undergraduate, you can write an essay to submit to this competition. You have until September, but you need to register an interest by next month. A lot of my students have won over the last few years; I’d like to say that that’s a reflection of my inspirational teaching, but I suspect it’s just because I get the best students! So give it a go, if you fancy a challenge. Here are some comments from previous winners.

If you’re an aspiring poetry translator, you could check out the Stephen Spender Prize, which is open until July. That does cost a bit to enter: but it’s a cash prize if you win!

Then there are the summer schools: one of the best and most entertaining ways of picking up – or dusting off – some Latin and Greek. I always recommend the Durham one in July, but there are others around the UK. There’s still time to book, but places fill up fast! Don’t be afraid to apply for a bursary if the cost makes it impossible. Here are some comments from OU students who went last year.

It’s also peak conference season: so do try to get to an event of some kind, if you can, just for the experience. Classics conferences are often little niche events (upcoming ones in the North East include one on nineteenth-century classical reception, and one on epigraphy, while the OU has lots of lunchtime seminars on material religion coming up, if you’re ever in Milton Keynes – and of course the Institute of Classical Studies in London has a busy programme of events). A lot of these little conferences and seminars are free to attend and open to anyone with an interest: and they’re great opportunities to meet scholars in person.

That brings me to the big conferences. The biggest in the UK is the FIEC/CA conference in July, held this year in London, which is packed full of classicists talking about their pet projects. Booking for that is still open, if you fancy a few days with like-minded people from around the world.

If you have any suggestions, comments or recommendations for other people, do leave them in the Comments box below.






This week’s links from the Classics Interweb



Retellings in line for Women’s Prize – The Guardian 

Women rebooting Classics – The Guardian 

Skeletons at the Holiday Inn – Lincolnshire Live 


Comment and opinion

Classics Everywhere – Society for Classical Studies

Aristarchos and astronomy – Classical Wisdom Weekly 

Ovid and Rome – Minerva’s Pencil Case 

Classics as a marker of cultural superiority – Sententiae Antiquae 

Athenian tragedy and modern anxiety – New Statesman 

Marvel-lous Latin – The Latin Language Blog

Greek gods and game theory – JSTOR Daily

The cursus honorum – Eagles and Dragons 

Jews and the Colosseum – History From Below

Reviewing the ‘Homer and Herodotus’ workshop – Institute for Classical Studies





Podcasts, video and other media

Alexander the Molossian – Battles of the Ancient World 

Museums and virtual reality – Coffee and Circuses 

The Roman calendar – Emperors of Rome 

The Ara Pacis – When in Rome 

Caesar gets impatient – On Germany 

Agrippina the Younger – Queens 

Attrition and plague – The History of Ancient Greece 

The seriousness of Lego Classics – Lynette Jensen 

5 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: Awards and Events

  1. I won the Kassman prize last year and I’m one of Cora Beth’s old students – I’m sure her inspirational teaching is part of it!

    I do recommend anyone to have a go; if there’s something that really interests you (my idea stemmed from the exam essay at the end of A330) start reading around the subject and just do it. You’ve nothing to lose – other than a lot of time over the summer!


  2. Thank you, Stella: I love to get credit for achievements that didn’t require any work on my part! Congratulations again on your win: it was well-deserved. Writing a Kassman essay does take a lot of work: but it’s satisfying to pursue some of those interesting things that you have to block out in order to focus on the assignment questions!

    (I was talking to EJ Graham a couple of weeks ago, and she said she’d run into you at an event. Great to see another ex-OU person out there in the big wide world of Classics!)


  3. Hi Cora, on the topic of conferences I went to one the other week on the history of wine (yes, Spain has those 🙂 I’ll be talking myself next week in Milton Keynes too. It’ll be nice to actually visit the uni for the first time! Suppose I’d better work out what to say…


    1. It’s great that you’re going to the MK event, Leigh – wish I was! Let me know how it goes….

      The wine conf sounds great: hope there was actual wine-drinking involved!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Milton Keynes was great (very green!) and it was fun to finally go to the uni, couldn’t quite believe it was a physically existing place!

        Just posted on my blog a transcript of my talk (or what I was supposed to have said anyway!) Not sure if I’ll get into trouble, but my dissertation ideas have now developed far beyond what I presented. Every time I think I’ve narrowed down my theme, all sorts of new rabbit holes open up, so I’m still in my usual position of too wide a scope!

        Unfortunately, there was no actual wine at the wine conference… Although you can guess what we did afterwards!


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