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The Peter Peckard Memorial Prize

The Peter Peckard Memorial Prize

Essay Competition on Modern Day Slavery and Exploitation.

Magdalene invites submissions for its annual Peter Peckard Memorial Prize from the University of Cambridge undergraduate students body. Collective entries by University or College Societies and essays written for undergraduate degrees are welcomed.

Magdalene College peter Peckard Prize TrophyBackground

The Prize was endowed by the generosity of two Magdalene Members wanting to celebrate the achievements of Peter Peckard, Master of Magdalene in the 18th century.

Peckard was elected as Vice-Chancellor of the University in 1784. In this capacity, it fell to him to set subjects for the essays for the undergraduates’ prizes of the University. 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 at the time, 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, soon after, he decided to dedicate his whole 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 6000-10,000 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 form below.
  • In the case of a tie the judges will split the prize.


Prize: £1,000

Closing date: 10 July 2022

Winner announced: 22 July 2022

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 2022 followed by dinner at Magdalene hosted by the Master, Senior Fellows and members of the prize-giving committee.

Peckard Prize Submission Form

Please complete the form below to submit your entry.

*required fields
One file only.
100 MB limit.
Allowed types: pdf, doc, docx.

Data Protection

We will only use submitted information for operational and communications purposes related to this competition. Winners details including, name, College, course and winning essay will be kept in perpetuity and used by the College in both print and digital communications including but not limited to, the College website, email newsletters, College publications and communications with donors. All information of non-winners will be deleted when it is no longer required with a maximum retention period of up to one year.

For more information about how we handle personal information please see our Data Protection Policy

Please contact us at if you have any questions or concerns about how we intend to use this information. You have the right to withdraw your consent at any time – please contact us if you wish to do so.