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German Classics Prize

A German Classic: Goethe's Faust.Rembrandt [Public domain], Faust, in his study, perceives the macrocosm, via Wikimedia Commons

An Essay Prize for Sixth-Formers

1st Prize: £500    2nd Prize: £300   3rd Prize: £100

We’re delighted to announce the launch of a new essay prize competition: ‘A German Classic’. It is aimed at students with a GCSE or equivalent in German and currently in Lower Sixth, for submission in mid-September of Upper Sixth (equivalent to Years 12 and 13 or S5 and S6 in Scotland).

The classic celebrated this year is Goethe’s Faust, Part I. Read and watch one of the greatest and most fascinating works in German   literature – the first part of Goethe’s Faust ranges from a pact with the devil to the tragedy of Gretchen and features both murder and   infanticide. Faust also raises exciting questions about how to justify human life and human endeavour in a secularising world. Take a look at the resources – with experts talking about the work, its translation, and the history of Faust across English and German traditions.

You’re not expected to have studied literature in your A level or equivalent course.

Download the full prize competition details, including the essay questions, and guidelines here

The task is to write an essay in English (between 2000 and 3000 words) so students who are not yet able to write fluently in German and can focus on the challenges of engaging with the language, ideas and conflicts of the work itself.

Please note: a free reader of secondary literature is available for every potential participant. To obtain the free reader, or if you have any questions or queries, contact the Prize Coordinator, Joanna Raisbeck, here.


Get your ideas together for your essay on Faust by having a look at these exciting resources:

  • Video podcasts of experts talking about the work, its translation, and the history of Faust across English and German traditions
  • Fancy exploring beyond Goethe's Faust, Part 1? Have a look here for further suggestions for reading and also for audio and visual adaptations of Faust.


The closing date for the prize competition is noon, Wednesday, 13th September 2017. Use the online form to submit your entry to the competition. Make sure you read through the guidelines (see above) prior to submission.