Sunday, June 7, 2009

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest for college students and graduating high school seniors

Ayn Rand Institute(ARI) awards $81,250 in prize money each year to the winners of its essay contests for college students and graduating high school seniors. The following contests are available:

Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged Century Edition Paperback cover
Deadline: Sept 17, 2009
FIRST PRIZE: $10,000
5 THIRD PRIZES: $1,000
20 FINALISTS: $100

Atlas Shrugged—Topics
Select ONE of the following three topics:

1. Hank Rearden does not apply the same philosophy to his personal life that he applies to his business. In what way does this contradiction harm him psychologically and practically? What is the central error that he makes? How does correcting his error improve his life?

2. In Atlas Shrugged, the heroes want to "make" money while the villains want, on the surface at least, to "have" money. What is the difference between these two views of money? Explain your answer by reference to actual events in the novel.

3. Choose one of the following pairs, and compare and contrast each character's approach to life and basic motivation:

a. Hank Rearden and Francisco d'Anconia

b. Dagny Taggart and Lillian Rearden

c. Eddie Willers and James Taggart

Atlas Shrugged—Judging

Essays will be judged on both style and content. 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.

Essay submissions are evaluated in a fair and unbiased four-round judging process. Judges are individually selected by the Ayn Rand Institute based on a demonstrated knowledge and understanding of Ayn Rand’s works. To ensure the anonymity of our participants, essay cover sheets are removed after the first round. Winners’ names are unknown to judges until after essays have been ranked and the contest results finalized.
Atlas Shrugged—Rules

* No application is required.
* Entrant must be enrolled in college/university or 12th grade at the time of entry.
* Contest is open to students worldwide.
* A stapled cover sheet MUST include: name and address of entrant; entrant’s e-mail address (if available); name and address of entrant’s university; topic selected (1, 2 or 3 from list above); and your declared major.
* Essay must be no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length, and must be typewritten and double-spaced. One entry per student, please.
* Essay must be solely the work of the entrant.
* Essay must be postmarked no later than September 17, 2009, no later than 11:59 PM, PST.
* 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 and other participants will be notified by November 27, 2009.

Atlas Shrugged—To Enter

» Submit your essay online

Or mail your essay with stapled cover sheet to:
Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest
The Ayn Rand Institute
P.O. Box 57044
Irvine, CA 92619-7044

If you wish to verify our receipt of your essay, please paperclip a stamped, self-addressed postcard to the essay. If you submit your essay online, we will send you an e-mail reply acknowledging receipt of your entry. If you have not received e-mail notification within 24 hours, please e-mail

To learn more about Ayn Rand and her novels, go to:

To learn more about Atlas Shrugged, go to:

Comments or questions about the essay contests are welcome. Please write to

ARI checks essays with Ithenticate Plagiarism Detection Software by Turnitin.

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