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The University of Southampton

Lisa takes top prize with Shakespeare essay

Published: 25 July 2008

An insight into how William Shakespeare explores the subject of money and wealth in one of his most popular plays, The Merchant of Venice, has scooped a top essay prize for a Southampton student.

Lisa Fairway (18) of Totton College has won the 2008 Edyth Jeffrey Shakespeare Prize awarded by the University of Southampton.

Established in 2005 in the memory of Edyth Jeffrey, the annual essay competition aims to encourage the reading and appreciation of Shakespeare, and is open to students between 15 and 19 years of age in secondary schools and sixth-form colleges in the Southampton area. This is the third year out of four that a student from Totton College has been awarded the prize which is judged anonymously.

This year, the judges were so impressed by an essay from one of the youngest entrants that they also awarded a special prize of Shakespeare's Complete Works to Louise Ward (15) of Sholing Technology College.

John McGavin, Professor of Medieval Literature and Culture in the University's School of Humanities, said: "We were very impressed by Lisa's well-argued essay which shows a real understanding of the play and of the ambiguous way Shakespeare presents wealth throughout the play's events and complex relationships."

Lisa wins £250 cash while her college is awarded £450 for use in the advancement of Shakespeare studies. The prize was awarded to Lisa by Professor Ros King, a Shakespeare specialist, at a special presentation after Graduation at the University's Avenue campus.

"I'm absolutely amazed to have won this prize!" said Lisa. "As well as English A-level, I've also been studying accounting and that inspired me to choose wealth and money in the play as the theme for my essay. I love studying English but I'm hoping to study law at university next year and am saving my prize money for then."

Ros King, Professor of English Studies added: "The Edyth Jeffrey Shakespeare Prize is a wonderful impetus for the University to make contact with local schools and colleges and make links around the teaching of Shakespear which we are very keen to do."

Lisa's winning essay is available to read on the University's website at:

Notes for editors

  • A digital image of Lisa Fairway receiving her prize is available from Communications on request.

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    Sue Wilson, Communications, University of Southampton,
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