your Choices: Community and Identity 

Submissions for the writing competition are now closed. keep an eye on this space for news on the winning entries and the launch event!



Have your work on a Bodleian shelf! 

Oxford SU, in collaboration with the Bodleian Library are launching a writing competition under the theme of ‘Your Choices: Community and Identity’. The selected submissions will be put into a publication that will be on the Weston’s Space for Reading. Winning submissions will also be read out at our launch event on the 29th April, and writers will have the chance to attend a zine workshop on the 24th April to construct the publication. Oxford SU and the Bodleian see this as a wonderful opportunity to platform student work and engage in more conversation about what community and identity mean to students. 


The Theme 

The theme is deliberately broad and matches the current theme of the Weston’s Space for Reading (which is always looking for recommendations – email if you have any!). The Space for Reading has popular fiction and non-fiction works such as ‘Wonder’ by R. J. Palacio and ‘Black and British’ by David Olusoga. No two books in the Space are the same, and we expect nothing less from submissions. We are looking for submissions to reflect the diversity of thought and experiences of our student population. We invite students to interpret the theme as they wish, and explore how they relate to this subject in its presence or its absence. You can look at either element of the theme in isolation, or in collaboration. We are looking for work in any form, and encourage students not to feel bound by any established formal conventions. 


Submission Rules 

Only current University of Oxford students may enter. This includes visiting students, students on a year abroad, students on a foundation course and suspended students. Please contact us if you have any questions about eligibility. 

Submissions can be in any form and genre: poetry, prose, fiction, non-fiction, essay, tweet, playscript, song lyrics, flash fiction, memoir, screenplay, television pilot, audio script etc. You do not have to consider yourself a seasoned writer to enter, just a person who wants their voice heard! We encourage writers to send accompanying images to help the editorial team envision how it might look within the publication. Please ensure that any image sent is without copyright. Audio submissions are also encouraged as there will be a digital version of the zine. Please make audio clips no longer than three minutes.  

Submissions need not be directly about protected characteristics, although if you would like to write about this, it is encouraged! Community and identity can be found in many things, and we want to explore all the feelings and nuances that people want to write about. 

Submissions need not be in English, although we ask that submissions in another language also provide an English translation. Both the original language and the translation will be published if selected. 

Submissions do not have to have been written directly for the competition and can be previously composed work. 

Submissions should not have won any other competition or have been previously published. Submissions are allowed to have previously been entered in other competitions, so long as they did not win. 

Submissions can be written by more than one person as long as everyone is credited. 

Submissions must be no longer than 1,000 words or 40 lines. Titles, references and dedications are not included in this word count. 

Submissions with possibly distressing themes need an accompanying content warning. 

Writers can enter a maximum of three pieces of work, however the editorial team may only select one winning piece per writer. 

We’d love for people to experiment with form and structure and so welcome submissions which are presented in expressive and unconventional ways. 

Late submissions will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances. 


How to enter 

Please email your submission(s) to as a word document or PDF by the submission deadline. Please format the subject as follows: 

[First Name, Last Name] - Competition Submission 

Each submission should have up to 200 accompanying words explaining how your work fits into the chosen theme, along with what you think is interesting about it. If you are submitting more than one piece, please write a new accompanying explanation for each one. If you have attached any audio or images, you can use the 200 words as an opportunity to tell us about those!  

In your email, please provide relevant content warnings and express whether you would like to attend the zine workshop if selected. 

Submissions will recieve an acknowledgement of receipt after the submission window is closed and will hear about the outcome of their application soon after. The editorial team will select winners based on sophistication, inventiveness and degree of expression, as well as looking at the wider picture of diversity of and themes between submissions. All writers can request feedback after the winners are announced.



2nd March 17:00 - submission window opens. Students may use the Weston Library Space for Reading as a base for writing, or for inspiration.  

16th March 23:59 - submission window closes 

16th March - 16th April - Submissions anonymised by SU staff. Editorial team and external judge shortlist anonymised submissions and select winners. 

Mid April - Winners of the competition are notified via email. 

24th April - the publication is put together in the zine workshop. 

29th April - Launch event at the Weston Library - the publication gets put on the shelf and the digital publication is also released. 

Criteria and judging panel 

We will be releasing information about the judging panel and the guest judge shortly! 

If you have any questions, please email We look forward to recieving your submissions. Happy writing!