The winner of the 2014 Tithe Grant Award has been chosen by our Judge, Stephen Fry.

There were over 1,000 entries from around the world submitted through Twitter and by Post.  Stephen Fry selected 3 aphorisms for a special commendation together with the absolute winner.

The 3 specially commended entries were:

A selfie proves you were there, and that your friends were absent.  — Sally Barton

Compassion is the greatest work of the imagination.  — Benjamin Ramm 

Should I refuse the honey because the bee stings?  — Marty Rubin


The wining entry is:

Incorruptible plastic proves the value of decay.  –– Beryl Kingston


Congratulations to Beryl Kingston who receives the Blake Society 2014 Tithe Grant Award.

Our thanks to all those who submitted aphorisms and to our Judge, Stephen Fry.

The Award was officially announced at the opening lecture of the Felpham Festival in West Sussex on 19 September 2014.

As entries were open to anyone, and judged anonymously, the winner could have come from anywhere in the world, but by chance, Beryl Kingston lives just a mile or so away in Bognor Regis – an extraordinary example of serendipity.

Beryl, unknowing she had won, was sitting in the audience to attend the lecture when the announcement was made. She received the news with joy ‘It is the first prize I have ever won!’ For more information about the winner, please see Beryl Kingston’s website

Information for Journalists: The Tithe Grant was set up in 2011 to encourage a work of the imagination.  It is funded by the Society diverting ten percent of its income (a tithe) from administration to creativity. The theme of the award changes each year – theatre, music, photography, aphorisms … and the winners have come from as far afield as Alaska and Australia.

Entry Information for the 2014 TITHE GRANT

Each year the Blake Society gives ten per cent of its income to an individual in the form of a grant to create a work of vision. For 2014 the value of the Grant will be £332.

This year the award will be given for an aphorism or proverb or epigram – a short pithy saying that suggests a more infinite truth.

The Judge is Stephen Fry, the writer, actor, raconteur and wit.


Inspired by Blake’s Proverbs of Hell we are seeking original and contemporary aphorisms ( aphs ! ) to be submitted through Twitter.

The winning entry will be announced at the Blake Festival in Felpham, West Sussex that takes place from 18-20 September 2014.  We will then contact the winner directly thereafter.

The competition is free to enter, open to all and the deadline for entry is midnight on 14 August 2014.

Entries may be submitted by Twitter through our account  using the hashtag #tithegrant or by post to the Blake Society, St James’s Church, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL

Entrants using Twitter must follow the Blake Society Twitter Account for the duration of the competition.

Full details of the Grant are below including the Rules, FAQs and how to apply, together with an article describing the essence of an aphorism.

You can see the current entries that have been submitted here.

Good luck !



  1. Entry is free and open to everyone.
  2. Anyone involved in the judging process or the organisation of the festival in Felpham cannot be awarded the Tithe Grant.
  3. Blake’s aphorisms reflect his own character and time. We invite yours to do the same.
  4. Entries could be inspired by Blake or other authors, but must not be derivative of them.
  5. Applicants may submit as many aphorisms as they wish.
  6. Entries should be made via Twitter or via post.
  7. Aphorisms should be written in English.
  8. The length of any aphorism submitted by post cannot exceed 128 characters.
  9. Entries must be previously unpublished.
  10. Entrants must own the copyright of the aphorisms submitted.
  11. The copyright of the aphorisms remains with the entrant.
  12. By submitting an aphorism you agree that in the event you are shortlisted as a finalist, the aphorism may be shared or published by the Blake Society in any material pertaining to the Tithe Grant.
  13. The Decision of the Judge is final and no correspondence shall be entered into concerning the Award or the process of judging.
  14. The value of the 2014 Award will be one tenth of the Blake Society’s Subscription Income in 2013; namely £332
  15. The deadline for submission of entries is 23:59 (GMT) on 14 August 2014. Late entries will not be accepted.
  16. Applicants who submit via Twitter must follow the Blake Society twitter account @blake_society for the duration of the contest.

Competition Entry

There are two methods for entry, via our Twitter page @blake_society using the hashtag #tithegrant or by letter post to Tithe Grant, The Blake Society, St James’s Church, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL, UK.


  1. What is an aphorism?

The best way to get to know what aphorisms are is by reading those of people, past and present, who write them well. The world wide web is a good source to begin.

  1. Does my entry have to be a ‘Blakean’ aphorism?

No. Blake’s own aphorisms are good because they express his own personality and age, but you are not Blake and we live in another era. Entries should above all be original to you.

  1. Can I submit more than one entry?

Yes, you can submit as many entries as you wish.

  1. Can I submit an aphorism from a poem or piece of prose that has been published?

No, entries must be previously unpublished.

  1. Can I submit an aphorism that I have taken from a poem I have written?

If that poem is unpublished, yes you can.

  1. Can I include an explanation of what my aphorism ‘means’ in my entry?

No, a good aphorism needs no explanation

  1. Can I email you my entry, or send it by Facebook or by carrier pigeon?

No, entries must be made via Twitter or by post.

  1. Can I invite the Ghost of William Blake to help me with my aphorisms?

Yes, but beware, he will speak his mind, and will likely rate your efforts far below his own.

  1. Do I have to be a member of the Blake Society to win the competition?


10. Did Blake ever enter a competition?

Blake submitted artworks to the Royal Academy for exhibition, akin to a competition but without a prize (except perhaps a buyer)

11. Can I enter a collection of aphorisms?

The Tithe Grant will be awarded to a single aphorism, but you may enter as many individual aphorisms as you wish.

12. Is there a fee to enter the competition?


13. Is a person who writes an aphorism called an aphorista?

Please, let’s keep this serious.

14.  Why do I have to include the hashtag #tithegrant in the tweet containing my aphorism?

This hashtag allows us to gather all the aphorisms together for judging and to enable everyone to see and enjoy them. More information and guidance on the use of hashtags can be found at

15. Why is there is limit of 128 characters on the length of an aphorism submitted by post?

We are encouraging people to submit entries using Twitter.  As every Tweet is limited to 140 characters, and each aphorism must be accompanied by the hashtag #tithegrant, therefore the maximum length of a Twitter entry is 140 – (11 + space) = 128 characters.  In order to be consistent we are extending this limit on length to entries submitted by post.

16. So many Rules! Wouldn’t a true artist break them?


16. I still don’t know what exactly you mean by an Aphorism!

An aphorism, or to use the term that Blake preferred, a proverb, cannot be defined exactly. So, we have prepared this brief article that we hope will enlighten you – it includes several wonderful examples.