"The Prize is designed to be the focus of an annual celebration of a classic text of German literature, providing resources that will remain available via our website for the future. You will find a rich array of material including podcasts and YouTube links on Faust, Part I, here:
Candidates may also request a special reader with extracts from criticism on the work (see contact details on the website). They are asked to write an essay in English (2000-3000 words), independently and unsupervised, over the summer holidays between Lower and Upper Sixth.
The prize, and funding of resources for the annual celebration of a literary text, have been generously donated by Jonathan Gaisman, QC, a highly distinguished commercial barrister who was introduced to German literature at school and still finds German literature and culture the most intellectually rewarding part of his life. He would like to give young people the opportunity to be inspired as he was when he first encountered German literature – including Faust.
Students willing to have a go at undertaking this challenge have the possibility of winning a glittering cash prize worth £500, £300 or £100. All participants will get a certificate of participation.
The prize is aimed at German learners in the UK. It does not assume that participants will be taking English beyond GCSE or that they have a prior interest in literature. We realise of course that an essay in English might seem irrelevant to students of Modern Foreign Languages. The rationale is that we want learners to engage with a linguistically and intellectually highly challenging work in the foreign language in an extended essay through the linguistic medium they are most comfortable with. While participants may want to use a translation to support their understanding, we recommend reading the text in the original in order to get the most out of the work and take advantage of the immense opportunity it offers for expanding and enriching German competence. All quotations must be in German.
As with all the Oxford German Olympiad competitions, our aim is to create a maximally level playing field for students from different backgrounds, schools, and levels of linguistic competence. We therefore ask for comprehensive information on the submission form. This must be signed by the participant’s teacher, who is also asked to submit the essay online. All sixth-formers in UK schools who have a GCSE or equivalent UK qualification in German are entitled to take part, including students who are not taking a German A-level or equivalent qualification. Native and near-native speakers of German are not excluded but are required to declare their linguistic status on the submission form. Our prime criterion is the quality of intellectual and imaginative engagement with the work evident in the essay while taking account of prior opportunity."
Professor of German
Faculty of Modern Languages
University of Oxford