Classics Reading Competition

The Classics Reading Competition has run for over 70 years at the University of Leeds, and is a celebration of Classics, Reading and Performance. It’s a great opportunity to introduce Classics to school students already familiar with English, History and Drama, highlighting the links to their current subjects and developing their oracy/public speaking skills in an exciting way. For students already studying Latin and Ancient Greek, it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase their reading skills to our judges!

Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 students are invited to choose one (or two) of the categories, watch the corresponding ‘category briefing video’ and film a short video of themselves in response. Teachers are asked to collate the films for their school and send them to be judged by our competition final submission date. A panel of University of Leeds academic judges make their decisions and announce our winners!

[The Classics Reading Competition] was one of the highlights of my secondary school experience. I can still remember the opening lines of the first piece I recited, aged 12. I took part again several years later (reciting part of Ariadne’s speech from Catullus 64), which helped build my confidence in the subject. Most importantly, the competition made the idea of university seem accessible and exciting. And like the JACT Latin summer school (which was transformative for me), it showed me that there was a community of other people out there who cared about this stuff and were even willing to dedicate their lives to it.

– Professor Verity Platt (Department of Classics, Cornell University)

We will be launching the 2024 competition in January 2024. If you would like to be contacted next year when the competition opens, please email Lauren Barraclough at

Winning entries from the Classics Reading Competition 2023!

The judges had a difficult job choosing the winners of our 2023 competition, but they made their decisions! You can view some our winning entries below – our winners received vouchers which were kindly gifted by The Classical Association, along with a some reading recommendations of some Classics-related books!

Beginners Latin


KS5-Cross Curricular


Intermediate Greek


This year's categories

Find out more about the category briefs for our 2023 competition.

KS3 Cross-curricular Category - Hercules’ Labours Rhapsode Battle

A rhapsode would sing the stories of gods, heroes and monsters to his audience. Your task is to write the story of one of Hercules’ labours (in English of course, no Greek needed!) and make a film of yourself presenting it aloud. You can put together an entry on your own, or if you would like to work with someone else, we will be accepting paired entries for this category.

KS4 Cross-curricular Category - Ancient Icons

Your task is to choose a key figure from the ancient world and argue why they are for you the #1 ancient icon. You can select a figure from myth or history but be prepared to showcase your research on their life and achievements. What makes that person special? What is their legacy? What sources will you use to show how important they are? This could be coins, statues, literature, artwork or their representation in modern films and TV shows.

KS5 Cross-curricular Category - Drama/Greek Tragedy

Your task is to prepare one of the two chosen passages (excerpted from English translations of Greek tragedies), and film yourself performing a dramatic, expressive reading of the passage. We’re accepting individual and group entries (with up to 4 people) for either of the passages so feel free to experiment and be creative with the way you perform the text. Could you split up the monologue to be performed by a group? How could you represent the chorus if you’re performing a choral ode as an individual? Props, garments, gestures and movement are encouraged!

Beginners Latin – Learning Latin!

This is a paired task where we would like you and a friend to read aloud the Latin dialogue adapted from Schottenius. Two students agree that it’s hard to learn Latin. Can you portray this as a proper and lively conversation? How can you bring out the difference in the characters? 

Intermediate Latin – The History of Apollonius

Your task is to make a film of yourself reading aloud a passage from The History of Apollonius, where he meets King Archistrates at the gym. You can submit this entry as an individual or as a pair. How well can you pay attention to the grammar and show your understanding of the Latin?

Advanced Latin – The Story of Cloelia

Your task is to make a film of yourself reading aloud a passage detailing the story of Cloelia. How will you tackle Livy’s carefully balanced and lengthy sentences and get across his first-rate storytelling?

Beginners Ancient Greek – The Story of Alcestis

Your task is to make a film of yourself reading aloud the ancient Greek passage outlining the plot of Euripides’ play, Alcestis. Can you get across the drama of the story? How can you convey the pathos of Alcestis’ death followed by the excitement of Herakles’ intervention?

Intermediate Ancient Greek – Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Your task is to make a 2 or 3-minute film of yourself reading aloud the herald’s speech from Aeschylus’ Greek tragedy, the Agamemnon. In this passage King Agamemnon’s herald expresses his joy and relief on returning safely home to his native land. How well can you show your understanding of the Greek and express the emotion of this scene?

Advanced Ancient Greek – Euripides, Medea

Your task is to make a 3-minute film of yourself reading aloud Medea’s first speech to the chorus in Euripides’ Greek tragedy, Medea. In this scene Medea, a former princess and now an exile, betrayed by her husband, presents her suffering to the women of Corinth. How well can you show your understanding of the Greek and convey the strength and feeling of Medea’s words? 

Read all about our Classics Reading Competition in 2021 to find out more about what to expect!