The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) is proud to announce the 2018 Atlas Shrugged essay contest, an annual, merit-based competition for students that promotes in-depth analysis of Ayn Rand’s classic novel. Since 1986 ARI has awarded over 10,000 students nearly 2 million dollars in scholarships. In the coming year we will award over $43,000 in total prizes to more than 200 students as part of the Atlas Shrugged essay contest. There is no cost to enter—we can even send students a free copy of the novel to get them started.
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.
- 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 at the time of the current contest deadline. Verification of school enrollment will be required for all winning entrants.
- 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.
- Essay must be submitted online or postmarked by May 15, 2018, no later than 11:59 p.m., Pacific Standard Time.
- 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
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