Strange Voices from the Heartland

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

Submission Guidance for Applicants

The Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas awards the three prizes for the essay competition “Strange Voices for the Heartland” in co-operation with the Charles University, the Sapientia College of Theology and the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University.

All are welcome to submit, 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).

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) at or sent to the following e-mail address: . No entries submitted via other routes will be accepted. No changes to entries can be made once submitted.The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. (Central European Time) on July 31st 2021 (extended from July 18th). Late submissions will not be accepted.

The decision will be made by a four-member international jury which represents the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas and the three other institutions that award the prizes.

The jury will look for submissions that (1) are original and of great quality; (2) contain a plausible and convincing argument; (3) are accessibly written and engaging for a wide audience; (4) exhibit a distinctive voice; (5) are relevant to the competition’s topic. The entries will be judged anonymously. The jury’s decision in selecting the winners is final; no challenge to the decision will be considered. The jury reserves the right not to award all or any prizes if entries are not of the required standard.

Entries must be new and original works which have not been published, submitted or considered for publication elsewhere. By submitting an essay, the author undertakes that it will not infringe the intellectual property rights of anyone. Any form of plagiarism will result in disqualification.

Apr 18th 2021 — competition launch
July 31st 2021 — deadline for submissions
middle of September 2021 — announcement of prize winners
October 2021 — award ceremony

Winners of the competition and the authors of those essays that have been selected for publication will be expected to sign an agreement to grant the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas the right to publish or reproduce their essays at any time.

You may contact Dr. Gábor Ambrus at .

Who awards the three prizes?

Who is eligible to apply?

How to apply?

Who makes the decision?

How will they judge the winning entries?

Originality of idea and writing

What is the competition’s timetable?


Who can I contact if I have further questions?

If you have your essay ready

Click here to upload your essay

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