The George Borrow Trust
(Charity Number 1114630)

George Borrow Trust Essay Competition

The George Borrow Trust holds an essay competition every other year on the work of George Borrow (1803-1881). The next competitions will be held in 2018. The competition is international and is open to members and non-members of the George Borrow Society. Officers of the George Borrow Trust and their families are excluded, as are the families of the appointed judges.

2017 - 2018

Competition essays may be submitted to arrive by 1st March 2018, and should be sent to the Chairman of the Trust, Dr Ann Soutter, St Mary's Cottage, 61 Thame Road, Warborough, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 7EA, UK.

The entry form, which is available as a PDF download, should be signed and attached to the first page of the first copy of the essay. No personal details should appear on the essay pages themselves.

The essay, which should be written in English, should relate to Borrow's work and have a title of the entrant's choosing. The essay should be at least 5,000 words long. It should be the original work of the named entrant and previously unpublished in print or any other medium. Three typed copies should be supplied on A4 paper printed on one side only, double-spaced (or 1.5), in font size no smaller than 12-point, and presented in a simple binder. The title, which may be abbreviated, should be printed as a footer on each page. Owing to the costs of printing, no e-mailed entries can be accepted.

The competition will be judged by two Borrow scholars, Professor George Hyde and Associate Professor David Chandler. The decision of the judges is final. The George Borrow Trust reserves the right not to award the prize if, in the judges' opinion, none of the entries attains the required standard. Otherwise the winner will be contacted by mid-June 2017 or 2018 depending on the date submitted.

The winner will receive a cheque for £500, presented at a George Borrow Society meeting and the winning essay will be published under the auspices of the The Lavengro Press. If the winner is unable to attend the meeting, the prize will be sent by secure mail.

The George Borrow Trust is unable to return entries. Acknowledgement of receipt can only be given if the entrant supplies a stamped and addressed envelope.

2015 - 2016

We are delighted to report that, following the disappointment of having no applicants in our 2014-2015 competition, we received this year two excellent essays, as follows:

The winner of the £500 prize is Jessica von Kaenel-Flatt for an essay on ‘The Heath and the Drawing-room: Representation and Reality in George Borrow’s Lavengro and The Romany Rye’. The Lavengro Press published the essay as the 10th Occasional Paper in 2017. (see for further information).

The runner-up, who has been accorded Distinguished Mention, is Dr Anne-Marie Ford, for an essay on ‘A Lying Tale: Fact and Fiction in the Stories of Borrow’s Gypsies’. This may be read on the Gypsy Genealogy website at at

2014 - 2015

We regret very much that we received no applications for this year's competition.

2012 - 2013

This was the first year of our competition and we are pleased to report that we had three entrants, each of whose essays the judges found very interesting in widely different aspects of Borrow.

The winner was Dr Colm Kerrigan, for an essay on 'George Borrow's Journey Through Cork in 1815'. The prize essay has been published by The Lavengro Press as Occasional Paper No. 1. For details re ordering this please see the website at

The runners-up were as follows:

  • Professor Roger Ebbatson, for an essay on 'Writing the South Country: Borrow to the Great War'.
  • Mr Paul Julings, for an essay on 'So you think you know Iberia? Peninsular architectural & topographical writing of George Borrow and Hilaire Belloc'.

Both were equally accorded Distinguished Mention.