Have you read one of Ayn Rand’s thought-provoking novels? Now’s the time! Enter an Ayn Rand Institute essay contest for your chance to win thousands of dollars in cash prizes.
ARI has held worldwide essay contests for students on Ayn Rand’s fiction for thirty years. This year we will award over 750 prizes totaling more than $130,000.
The Ayn Rand Institute
Select ONE of the following three topics:
- An important early event in the novel is the destruction of the Phoenix-Durango. What factors make its destruction possible? How does this issue relate to the meaning and theme of Atlas Shrugged? In your answer, consider what Rand has to say in her 1962 essay “The Pull Peddlers.”
- Capitalism’s defenders usually appeal to the “public good” as the moral justification of capitalism. Contrast this approach to defending capitalism with Ayn Rand’s approach in Atlas Shrugged. In your answer, consider what Rand has to say in her 1965 essay “What Is Capitalism?”
- Francisco d’Anconia and his teacher, Hugh Akston, advise more than once: “Check your premises,” because contradictions do not exist. Identify at least two major apparent contradictions that the heroes of Atlas Shrugged encounter, and explain, with reference to the novel, what premises they need to check and correct in order for them to understand that these “contradictions” do not exist.
12th Graders, College Undergraduates, and Graduate Students from any country.
- 1st place – $10,000
- 2nd place – $2,000 (5 Winners)
- 3rd place – $1,000 (10 Winners)
- Finalists – $100 (45 Winners)
- Semifinalists – $50 (175 Winners)
Essay must be submitted online or postmarked by May 15, 2018, no later than 11:59 p.m., Pacific Standard Time.
Judging criteria – Essays will be judged on whether the student is able to argue for and justify his or her view—not on whether the Institute agrees with the view the student expresses. Judges will look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophic meaning of Atlas Shrugged.
- No application is required. Contest is open to students worldwide, except where void or prohibited by law. Essays must be written in English only.
- Entrant must be a 12th-grader, college undergraduate or graduate student for at least one semester during the school year in which the contest is held. The school year is considered to run August through July of the following year. ARI reserves the right to make exceptions to this rule, on a case-by-case basis, for students with nonstandard school years.
- To avoid disqualification, mailed-in essays must include a stapled cover sheet with the following information:
- 1. your name and address;
- 2. your email address (if available);
- 3. the name and address of your school;
- 4. topic selected (#1, 2 or 3 from the “Topics” tab);
- 5. your current grade level; and
- 6. (optional) the name of the teacher who assigned the essay if you are completing it for classroom credit.
- Essay must be no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length, double-spaced. Spelling errors and/or written corrections (by anyone) found on the essay will count against the final grade and should be omitted before submission.
- One entry per student per contest.
- The Ayn Rand Institute has the right to provide contest deadline extensions when deemed appropriate.
- Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Essays must not infringe on any third-party rights or intellectual property of any person, company or organization. By submitting an essay to this Contest, the entrant agrees to indemnify the Ayn Rand Institute for any claim, demand, judgment or other allegation arising from possible violation of someone’s trademark, copyright or other legally protected interest in any way in the entrant’s essay.
- Decisions of the judges are final.
- Employees of the Ayn Rand Institute, its board of directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest. Past first-place winners are not eligible for this contest.
- All entries become the property of the Ayn Rand Institute and will not be returned.
- Winners, finalists, semifinalists and all other participants will be notified via email and/or by mail by August 29, 2018.
- Winners are responsible for providing their mailing addresses and other necessary information under the law in order to receive any prizes. Contest winners agree to allow the Ayn Rand Institute to post their names on any of ARI’s affiliated websites. The first-place essay may be posted in its entirety on any of these websites with full credit given to the author.
- Winners will be solely responsible for any federal, state or local taxes.
You can find more information and helpful resources here.
Lawyer, writer and entrepreneur.