This year’s Liberal Arts Essay Competition for Lower Sixth pupils attracted a strong field of entries that showcased pupils’ ability to think critically and creatively.

In the spirit of the liberal arts tradition, pupils were asked to connect diverse ideas and themes across the humanities, the arts and the sciences, exploring the impact of historical events on contemporary society and delving into the nuances of philosophical concepts.

In advance of their own research and writing, pupils attended a talk by the Head of English that sought to offer possible angles from which to frame the questions:

• ‘The truth is that truth has always been a contested idea.’ (Salman Rushdie) Explore the implications of this quotation within your sphere(s) of interest.

• Explore the representation of gender politics or gender-related questions in your sphere(s) of interest.

The quality of submissions was high, and the final decision by the adjudicators took some careful thought. The winner of the 2023-24 prize was Sophie (Sn), followed by Ralph (StA) in second place and Oviya (L) in third.