Strange Voices from the Heartland

An essay competition on religion and culture
in Central and Eastern Europe

The Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in co-operation with the Charles University, the Sapientia College of Theology and the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University organises an essay competition for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Anyone may apply with an essay in English dealing with religion in the CEE region.

An international essay contest

The competition is open to authors who are willing to inquire into any religious theme or any form of religious thought, attitude or initiative in the contemporary cultural life of the post-communist countries in the CEE region. Authors are welcome to discuss religion – either traditional or modern, individual or collective, dark or uplifting – as present or represented in film, literature, visual arts, music, theatre, radio or television programmes, national press, web content (that is, in both “old” and “new” media) or in various phenomena of civic and everyday life. Accordingly, “religion” and “contemporary culture” as topics of the competition are meant rather broadly.

We welcome essays dealing with one or more of the following countries: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine.

Three prizes will be awarded with the following amounts:

Submission deadline: July 31st 2021 (extended from July 18th).

Essays can be uploaded on this webpage

The prize-winning and further selected essays will be published in an edited volume by the Angelicum University Press.

2,000 euros




1,500 euros

2,500 euros

Frequently asked questions about the essay competition

Who is eligible to apply?

All are welcome to submit an essay, but applicants must be 18 years of age or over. Members of the jury and their family members are not eligible to apply. Joint entries will be considered. Only one entry per author will be accepted (whether as an individual or with others).

You may contact Dr. Gábor Ambrus at .

Who can I contact if I have further questions?

Essays are to be submitted in English. Their length must be between 5,000 and 7,000 words (without footnotes), typed in double line spacing. Documents should be submitted in Word (.doc or .docx formats).

What are the formal requirements of an essay?

Support for aspiring essay writers

If you wish to write for us, but need help in choosing a subject and preparing your essay, you may contact us. Put your email address below, and — if there is interest — we will arrange an online consultation.

The participants of the online consultation shall also receive a free digital copy of the best essays when they get published.

If you have your essay ready

Click here to upload your essay

Copyright 2021, Angelicum

Photos of the Carl Lutz Memorial in Budapest by Tamás Pál, Ády, Ildikó Dénes via