Ten finalists are hoping to receive top honors and a $1,000 prize in the fourth annual Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship "Who Wrote Shakespeare?" video contest.

Entry to the contest was open to contestants from across the U.S., and eight different countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Australia, and New Zealand. Second place receives $500, and third place receives $250 in prize money.

The top three winners will be selected by open public voting, now available through Sept. 20, by visiting https://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/sof-video-contest/vote-now/, where everyone can view the 10 finalist videos and vote for their favorite.

Did a glover’s son from Stratford really write the plays and poems of “William Shakespeare?" Or was the name a pseudonym designed to mask the real author’s identity? Doubts have persisted for centuries, with Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Sigmund Freud, Sir Derek Jacobi, Charlie Chaplin, and five U.S. Supreme Court justices among the skeptics.

"Contestants were encouraged to create a three-minute video promoting discussion of the question, 'Who Wrote Shakespeare?' in a format that is entertaining, engaging, and witty,” said contest coordinator Julie Sandys Bianchi.

Despite hundreds of years of searching, no evidence has ever been found to prove the Stratford man attributed with the works ever went to school, wrote a letter, or owned a book. Yet the works of Shakespeare show evidence that the author – whoever he was – was deeply familiar with law, medicine, astronomy, philosophy, mythology, gardening, precious stones, music, Italy, and many other subjects.

This question has also fascinated members of the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship, a nonprofit organization forged more than 60 years ago, dedicated to sponsoring research of the Shakespeare Authorship Question, and favoring Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, as the most likely candidate for the authorship laurels.

“Though our members predominantly favor Edward de Vere, we are always open to discussion of other candidates in order to get to the truth,” said Bianchi.

SOF publishes quarterly newsletters and an annual journal on research and developments of the Shakespeare Authorship Question. The organization also sponsors a $20,000 annual Research Grant Program, regional events dedicated to the SAQ, and an annual conference in a different major U.S. city each year.

This year, the organization will present an online Shakespeare Authorship Symposium featuring live and recorded presentations from top scholars on the subject of Shakespeare authorship Oct. 2-3. The winners of the "Who Wrote Shakespeare?" video contest will be announced as part of the livestreaming portion of the symposium.

For more information, visit https://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/sof-video-contest.

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