Skip to main content
Peter Peckard Memorial Prize

Peter Peckard Memorial Prize

Essay Competition on Modern Day Slavery and Exploitation.

Magdalene College peter Peckard Prize TrophyPrize Background

The Prize, endowed by the generosity of two Magdalene Members, celebrates the achievements of Peter Peckard, Master of Magdalene in the 18th century. As Vice-Chancellor of the University in 1784, Peckard set essay subjects for undergraduate prizes. He chose the topic 'Is it ever right to make slaves of others against their will?'

Thomas Clarkson, a scholar of St John’s College, won the prize for an essay involving a careful review of the horrifying realities of slavery. Clarkson was so moved by what he discovered that he decided to dedicate his life to fighting for the abolition of slavery. It was Clarkson who later recruited William Wilberforce to lead the battle in Parliament. The Peckard Memorial Prize was created to mark these events.


An essay or equivalent (research paper, report, short film, podcast, blog post, or other media) on some egregious form of human exploitation in the world today and the actions needed to eliminate it.

  • competition open to University of Cambridge undergraduate students
  • work produced for undergraduate degrees welcomed
  • collective entries by a University or College Society welcomed
  • entries must be between 6,000-10,000 words (excluding the bibliography)
  • figures, tables, etc will count at 250 words per page
  • all debts to other scholars, including teachers, books, articles and websites, should be acknowledged
  • submissions must be in English and submitted using the Peter Peckard Memorial Prize Entry Form
  • in the case of a tie the judges will split the prize


Prize: £1,000

Winner announced: 22 July 2023

Prize-giving Ceremony

The winner will be invited with a guest and the Head of House/Senior Tutor of their College to a prize-giving ceremony in October 2023 followed by dinner at Magdalene College hosted by the Master, Senior Fellows and members of the prize-giving committee.


To enter please complete the Peter Peckard Memorial Prize Entry Form at the link below.

Closing date: 10 July 2023

Peter Peckard Prize Entry Form