EDC Student Wins University Covid Literature Award

Thu, 15/10/2020 - 15:28

East Durham College Student Evan Carroll has won a literature competition held specially in response to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The University of Cumbria competition “Reading During the Lockdown” invited young people from schools and colleges to submit a literary review of 1,000 words about a novel, short story, play, poem or collection of poems, exploring how and why their chosen text had a significant impact on them during lockdown.


The competition was launched to inspire young people during the coronavirus lockdown is celebrating the literary loves and talents of teenagers.

A judging panel of writing and literature tutors at the university recently selected Evan Carroll’s review of Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace as the winning entry. 

The success was revealed by senior lecturer Dr Sarah Bradshaw during a virtual visit to East Durham College’s Peterlee campus, where 18-year-old Evan is a sixth form student. 

Evan felt ‘honoured’ winning the competition and thanked his English teacher and East Durham College for supporting him during lockdown and the competition.


Evan said: “I put a great amount of effort and enjoyment into reading and writing about this book, so for my efforts to receive recognition from a great number of professionals is a great honour. 

“Literature is important to any society in that it diagnoses our problems and lays the foreground for us to solve them. That’s what makes a work of literature become such a large institution and become a cultural Zeitgeist. 

“The great works of literature must challenge you and provoke you as a reader to think about the world we live or once lived in and shatter all preconceived notions that you had, leaving in its wake an original, fresh perspective.”


Programme leader for the university’s BA English Literature degree, Dr Bradshaw said: “Since Lockdown began in March, it has been widely reported that there has been a rise in reading levels and of the beneficial effects of literature in supporting us through this difficult time.

“We very much enjoyed reading the entries which demonstrated a breadth of talent. Evan’s review of Infinite Jest was thoughtful and well written. It really conveyed the potential of literature to speak to readers across time and place and delivered a compelling account of the powerful effects this particular novel had on him as a reader.

“Congratulations to Evan. It was lovely to be able to reveal news of his win while I was delivering a virtual talk to students at East Durham College.”