Final year student scoops inaugural essay prize
4 December 2015
The School of Modern Languages is pleased to announce the winner of its inaugural student essay competition.
Robert Lodge who is a final year French and Spanish student won the competition with his essay entitled ” Charlie Hebdo, défenseur de notre liberté” (Charlie Hebdo , defender of our freedom). Robert’s essay answered the competition’s theme “They order, said I, this matter better in France”: What did you particularly appreciate during your year abroad in France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain or Latin America and would like to see more of in the UK?
The essay competition was inspired by the annual writing competitions run by the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD and the Third Year Abroad website and was open to all MLANG students. As the competition was the first within the School, a generous £200 was offered as first prize.
The departmental coordinators of each language read all entries and then compared notes. Robert’s essay was found to be an excellent analysis of the different ways that freedom of expression is tackled in France and Britain; managing to combine a strong emotional response with a high level of critical reflection. Robert was in France on 7 January this year when the office of satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo was attacked by terrorists, killing 11 people.
Although Robert was the overall winner the judges also commended Sophie Young’s essay on the unifying role of classical literature and music in a politically divided Italy, Sam Furse who wrote about the pleasures of skiing in Austria and the many benefits of a developed winter sports’ industry and Kelsey Hibbit’s essay about the role of tapas in Spanish culture.
Of his win, Robert said, “The French press has a strong tradition of irreverence and holding the powerful to account. This spirit is embodied by publications such as Charlie Hebdo and it felt fitting to dedicate my essay to them.”