The Lady Denman Cup 2021 – ‘Let me show you what a woman can do!’ 

This painting by the artist Artemisia Gentileschi forms the basis of the 2021 Lady Denman Cup Competition, held in partnership with the National Gallery, which had planned a major exhibition by this 17th century Italian woman artist who was tortured for being raped (yes, you read that right!). 

For the competition, members are invited to submit a piece of writing, fact or fiction, in any style — story, poem etc. — based on this painting of the artist as St Catherine of Alexandria. 

Professor Emma Rees argues that Artemisia’s paintings vividly depict “revenge and female empowerment;” bold and often extremely violent in theme, depicting Biblical stories of murder, rape, brutality and subjects such as Judith beheading Holofernes, and Jael’s murder of Sisera. She asks: “Are they a provocative and unapologetic forerunner of today’s MeToo movement?” 

The Rules

  • Entrants must submit four copies of their entry, typed if possible on A4 paper and consisting of no more than 500 words.
  • The entrant’s name, Federation and WI should appear on the first copy only. 
  • Each entry must include a total word count; entries with over 500 words will not be accepted. 
  • Entries must be accompanied by a completed Individual Entry Form which can be downloaded from MyWI. 
  • Entries should be posted or emailed to SFWI HQ by Friday 30th July.
  • Any entries sent directly to the NFWI, without being approved by Surrey Federation, cannot be entered and will be returned to the entrant. 

Results will be announced by early December 2021.


1st prize: Book tokens to the value of £75.00

2nd prize: Book tokens to the value of £50.00

3rd prize: Book tokens to the value of £30.00


The winner/ winning Federation will be presented with the Lady Denman Cup.

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