The Anthem Essay Contest is an annual contest on Ayn Rand’s Anthem, a dystopian fiction novella that deals with topics of individuality.
Who is eligible to apply for the Anthem Essay Contest?
This contest is open to 8th – 12th grade students aged 13 – 18. Students are permitted to submit one entry per year.
How do I apply?
To enter, students must write an essay responding to one of three prompts on Anthem:
- In Anthem, Ayn Rand does not indicate the race of any of the characters, nor does she suggest that racial prejudice is present in the story. But are there other forms of prejudice in the society of Anthem? If so, against what or whom are they directed and why? In what ways are these forms of prejudice similar to or different from racial prejudice?
- Do you think that Equality 7-2521 is selfish? In your answer, give examples from the story that support your answer. In what ways is Equality’s approach to life and to the other characters in the story similar to or different from what we normally think of as “selfish”? What lessons do you draw from the story about what it means to pursue your own interests?
- Do you find Liberty 5-3000 to be an admirable character? In your answer, give examples from the story about her actions, attitude, or character that lead you to answer as you do. In what ways is Liberty similar to or different from other women whom we are taught to admire?
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 Anthem.
Essays should be written in English only, and should be between 600 and 1,200 words in length, double-spaced.
How much is awarded through the Anthem Essay Contest?
Top Prize: $2,000; Second Prizes (3): $500; Third Prizes (5): $100 ; Finalist (25): $50; Semi-finalist (50): $25
When are the Anthem Essay Contest applications due?
The deadline to submit your essay and application is April 28, 2022!
Essays must be submitted through the online application portal accessible at aynrand.org/contests. Students unable to submit their essays electronically should contact [email protected] to arrange another option.
Best of luck to all who apply! For more writing contests, check out our list of writing & essay scholarships!