Writer wins classics contest

A Sixth Form writer has won first prize in a creative writing competition.

Charlotte (U6) won her age category at the Manar -Al – Athar Creative Writing Competition.

In all, 325 young people entered the competition and the judging panel from the Manar al-Athar photo archive, Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research and Classics Faculty, comprising of academics and staff from the University were particularly impressed by Charlotte’s piece.

Charlotte said: “I was inspired to enter the competition because Dr Miranda Williams (Oxford) gave a talk at Classics Society last term about the Manar-al-Athar digital archive which I thought was really interesting. “

“I actually used to live in Jordan and have been to Petra many times, so when I saw the pictures on the archive I immediately knew I had to set my play there. Petra is such a striking site because all the buildings are carved into the red rock creating passages and gorges and have been preserved so well – it really is incredible.”

Charlotte’s play, ‘Nabatean Women’, is based on Euripides’ play ‘Trojan Women’ and takes place during the Roman annexation in 106 CE. The widowed queen of Petra, Queen Hagaru, surrenders the city to the Roman general Cornelius Palma. It is revealed that the true reason he has come to Petra is to seek the ancient Pharaoh’s treasure which is rumoured to be hidden in an urn at the top of Al-Khazneh; also known as ‘The Treasury’.”

Charlotte said: ““Writing it was more difficult than I anticipated. There was a lot of research that I had to do about the history and culture of the Nabataeans to adapt Euripedes’ original story.

“I am just so shocked and thrilled that I won – it really was such a surprise! It is particularly meaningful because I am planning to read Classics at University.”