For the 13th Annual Ibn Battuta Prize Reading Over, the Middle Eastern society welcomed Fitzroy Morrissey (OE) and Marcus Fraser (OE) to College Library.

The first part of the evening saw Mr Morrissey (Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford ) announce the winners of the Prize, with a brief overview of his thoughts on all of the essays he marked over the course of the previous two weeks. It was evident that Mr Morrissey had given very careful consideration to each piece of work. The boys were incredibly grateful for the depth of feedback he gave and the very helpful recommendations he made. In the essays, Mr Morrissey looked for: evidence of originality in choosing a subject and formulating a question; careful reading and understanding of relevant books and articles; a well-structured argument; and clear prose.

The reading over of the prize was as follows:-

1st place: Guy Berry (MJP): “The Strange Case of the Druze”

2nd place: William Ferguson (NCWS): ‘Frankincense: The Lifeblood of Oman’

3rd place: Jamie Bowden (RDOC): ‘Albert Camus and Kamel Daoud: A Comparative Reading’

Honourable Mentions:

Kian Power KS: ‘How optimistic can the West be about the direction in which Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud is taking Saudi Arabia?’

Oscar Bannock-Priest (NA): ‘Turkey’s Quest for Supremacy in the New Middle East: A Comparison with Iran’

A talk titled “‘A Guided Tour of Eton’s Islamic Manuscripts” by Marcus Fraser soon followed the reading over. Mr Fraser, former head of Sotheby's Islamic Art department and currently a curator of Islamic Art at the Fitzwilliam, provided the audience with a guided tour of the most remarkable aspects of Eton’s Islamic manuscripts collection from College library, from the extraordinarily beautiful fourteenth century copy from Spain, to a seventeenth century copy once owned by an English vicar. His presentation was eloquent and thought-provoking, truly showing the depth of knowledge Mr Fraser has an expert in this field.

We would like to thank both guests for coming to speak at Eton, and Mr Shirwani, who helped organise this very successful essay prize and society meeting.

Nathan Swidler (NCWS)

Photo to the right: Haroon Shirwani