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Shakespeare Fellowship Essay Contest For High School

Read the 2012 winning essay:

Bringing Truth to Light – Why it Matters Who Wrote William’s Words

by Jacob Karlsson Lagerros

About the Shakespeare Authorship High School Essay Contest

The purpose of the Shakespeare Authorship High School Essay Contest is to involve secondary school students in the creative and analytic synthesis of knowledge about Shakespeare, the Shakespearean Canon, and the Shakespeare Authorship question, by offering prizes for the best essays.

Since we began our contest in 2002, many teachers have written to thank us for the pedagogical opportunity provided by the essay contest. “Thanks so much for providing the forum to inspire students towards excellence,” wrote Audrey Wells from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

In previous contests, we’ve received hundreds of entries. Essays came not only from the United States, but from many other countries including Canada, Bulgaria, Romania, Nigeria, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom. We welcome entries from students of all nations and hope that this year many more teachers from all over the world will find the essay contest a useful resource for stimulating thinking, discussion, and the development of analytic and critical thinking skills.

Contest Guidelines

Download the 2012 Contest Guidelines here.

For questions and more information about the contest and eligibility, send inquiries to shake_a_speare@hotmail.com.

2012 Shakespeare Authorship High School Essay Contest Winners

Winner: Jacob Karlsson Lagerros

Jacob Karlsson Lagerros, a student at Viktor Rydberg Gymnasium in Stockholm Sweden, has been selected as winner of the 2012 Shakespeare Authorship High School Essay Contest. His essay, “Bringing Truth to Light – Why it Matters Who Wrote William’s Words,”was selected from more than 60 submissions.

2nd Place: Rachel Woods of Franklin, TN

3rd Place: Hayley Hohman of Mead, WA

Honorable Mention:

Catherine Wu of High Point, NC

Olivia Barnett of New York City

Rachel Grewcock from Longborough High School, UK

Judges of the 2012 contest: Dr. Robin Fox, Dr. Ren Draya, and Sarah Smith.



Education Programs

National Shakespeare Competition

National Shakespeare Competition

Students, teachers and high schools are invited to join us for the 2018 Competition.   

Watch the videos from the 2017 National Competition, held on Monday, May 1.

About the Competition

The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition provides teachers across the country with a performance-based program for the study of English Language Arts and Shakespeare. It is a school-based program serving Grades 9-12. Through the Competition, students develop communication skills and an appreciation of the power of language and literature. The Competition has engaged more than 300,000 young people since its inception in 1983.

Through the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, students:

  • develop essential skills: critical thinking, close reading and public speaking
  • increase self-confidence through reading, analysis and performance of Shakespeare
  • explore the beauty of Shakespeare's language and classic themes
  • bring the timeless works of Shakespeare to life and learn to express his words with understanding, feeling and clarity
  • meet local, state and national standards in English Language Arts and Drama.

Students read, analyze, perform and recite Shakespearean monologues and sonnets in three qualifying stages: at the school, community and national levels. Approximately 2,500 teachers and 20,000 students in nearly 60 ESU Branch communities participate each year.

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition has been recognized by the Globe Center (USA), the Children's Theatre Foundation of America and the American Academy of Achievement. Many distinguished judges have served on the Competition panels.

Branch competition dates are listed below. Schools should consult the links to find their branch's registration deadline and instructions.

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