Brilliant Essays

by Ursula Hackett


If you want to write brilliant essays, you've come to the right place. Welcome to the companion site for Brilliant Essays by prize-winning author Ursula Hackett.

A bit about the book . . .

You have the ability to write a brilliant essay. Let Ursula Hackett show you how.

Every day, you use language, argue a case, think creatively and communicate with others. Packed with practical exercises and examples, Brilliant Essays shows you how to apply these skills and craft original and high-scoring essays. Leave your essay writing woes behind and discover how to:

  • Unpick your essay question
  • Read critically and purposefully
  • Write clear, concise and compelling introductions
  • Construct a logical and persuasive argument
  • Deploy evidence effectively

Whatever your subject area, this book and its companion website will take you beyond the basics and show you how to write essays and exam responses with creativity, confidence and control.

… and the author behind it

Ursula Hackett Ursula Hackett is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she writes and teaches on American politics, federalism, religion, and education. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In 2020 she won the national Political Studies Association's Sir Bernard Crick Prize for Outstanding Teaching and a Royal Holloway Excellence Teaching Award.


If you're a student, you'll find:

If you're a lecturer, you'll also find:

  • Editable outline slides for presentations, which will help you deliver proper arguments backed up with sound evidence
  • Example slides showing you how this can be done
  • Classroom activities, with goals and suggested pre-reading from the book
  • Fresh questions to stimulate classroom discussions
  • A ready-to-use handout with points for students to consider when approaching an essay question

Don’t just take it from us. Here’s what others have to say about Brilliant Essays:

Brilliant Essays gives students of all levels and disciplines the practical tools needed to decode essay questions and to really understand what their tutors are looking for.Mark Field, University of Portsmouth, UK
This is a book for which I’ve long been waiting. Brilliant Essays is the answer to every student who asks, ‘How do I get a first?’. The book pushes students to be critically minded and intellectually ambitious, while sharpening key writing and analytical skills along the way.Richard Johnson, Queen Mary University of London, UK
With humour and verve, Ursula Hackett provides a penetrating analysis of what goes wrong in student writing, paired with effective techniques for avoiding common problems and writing incisively. I can’t wait to get this thoughtful book into my students’ hands.Andrea Louise Campbell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
This book won’t just improve your writing – it will help you think more clearly and incisively too.Tom Cutterham, University of Birmingham, UK
I highly recommend Brilliant Essays to any students wanting to improve their writing and boost the clarity and persuasiveness of their arguments in essays.Nick Dickinson, University of Oxford, UK

Hungry for more?


Chameleon illustration courtesy of Mark Hackett.