Winners of the Ruttkay Essay Prize 2014 – Part 2

Interview with Kassai Zita


About you and the prize

 You were the one of the two winners of the Ruttkay Essay Prize this year – were you surprised at the jury’s decision? Why?

– I was quite surprised as I consider myself an average essay-writer whose style and skills still leave something to be desired.
How important was/is it for you to be thus noted and acknowledged?

– Since the Ruttkay Essay Prize represents high standards in my opinion, it was quite an honour for me to have been thus acknowledged.
Why did you feel you wanted to compete? What made you submit your paper? If you hesitated about the submission, what made you uncertain?

– I entered the contest primarily because my teachers encouraged me to do so; nevertheless, I did not submit my essay in order just to win but rather to obtain some valuable feedback regarding my academic skills.

About the contest at the English Department 

The participant who submits a paper graded “better” usually receives a book voucher or present of 1000HUF worth, while the ones receiving a grade “Good” will be acknowledged by a Diploma only. The Prize (of four or five thousand forints) means to express the appreciation of the very best. Do you think the book voucher of 4000HUF each of you received is encouraging enough? Why?

– The first prize is more than encouraging; first because with 4000 HUF one can choose among quality books; and second because a book voucher of 4000 HUF is quite a significant help to the average college student who may not afford to buy any book they fancy or need.
How high is this essay contest held among your fellow students? Is your achievement respected by your friends students (as much as you wish)?

–  I think my fellow students hold the essay contest in a rather high esteem; and not only did they congratulate me for my achievement but they were also able to share in my joy over the first prize, which is more than I can wish for.

 If you had to seek talented people at the Department, how would you invite and inspire them?

– I would draw attention to the points that also made me take part in the competition: first, there is really nothing to lose in entering the contest; second, submitting your paper gives you an unique opportunity to gain some entirely objective feedback on your academic skills; and last, but not least, there is nothing like the thrill prior to the announcement of the results.

We intend to open up the essay contest before authors coming from a non-literary field because we believe that clear and witty argumentation that is comprehensible for the “lay” reader is quite essential in the fields of linguistics, methodology or applied linguistics as well. Do you think this could inspire your friends or acquaintances to participate?

 – Since, to my knowledge, there is no separate contest in the non-literary field at the English Department, opening up the Ruttkay contest before a wider circle will definitely attract interest; and it will definitely make the competition more colourful and exciting, too.

The Prize and your future

 Do you think this essay prize will look good on your CV?

– I think the essay prize will enhance my CV, especially if I apply for a position that requires high competence in written English.

 In what way do you intend to use your excellent researching and writing skills in the foreseeable future?  

– Currently, I am working on my MA thesis as well as an essay for the OTDK, and winning the contest has given me a huge amount of motivation in continuing writing.


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