Sure, getting first place in a national essay contest is hard, but how about 225th place? Literally hundreds of winners every year in the Ayn Rand Essay Contest! 

There are three levels of contest for each of three novels:

  • Anthem for grades 8, 9, and 10
  • Fountainhead for grades 11 and 12
  • Atlas Shrugged for grade 12 and college students

Each has prompts for writing at the contest website.

Anthem Essay Contest
DeadlineMay 1, 2018
Prizes$2000 1st prize; $30 down to 235th place!
Topics  For this year
Fountainhead Essay Contest
DeadlineMay 15, 2018
Prizes$10,000 1st prize; $50 down to 235th place!
Topics For this year

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Fountainhead Deadline

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Copies of the novels are available with Mr. Chisnell. Any student entering the contest can use the contest entry as a substitute for any other major essay in the class. Since this is a challenging  assignment, you should meet with Mr. Chisnell to discuss the themes of the work and the approach to the essay.

As with most contests, remember that the Ayn Rand Institute is sponsoring the contest, so arguing against the themes of the novel will not give you an advantage!

SELECT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING THREE TOPICS:

  • Anthem depicts a world of the future, a collectivist dictatorship in which even the word “I” has vanished. Discuss the hero’s struggle to free himself from collectivism. What makes his victory possible? In your essay, consider what Ayn Rand has to say in “The Soul Of An Individualist” excerpt from her novel The Fountainhead.
  • In Anthem, the City has numerous rules and controls. Why do these exist? What is their purpose? Do you think the society that Equality envisions creating at the end of the story would include any of these rules and controls? Explain why or why not.
  • Contrast Equality’s view of morality at the end of the novel to the morality exemplified by his society’s institutions, practices and officials. In your essay, consider what Ayn Rand has to say in these excerpts from her writings.

SELECT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING THREE TOPICS:

  • How do Keating’s and Roark’s paths to success differ? Which one in the end is the real success? In your essay, consider what Ayn Rand has to say in these excerpts from her writings.
  • Choose the scene in The Fountainhead that is most meaningful to you. Analyze that scene in terms of the wider themes in the book.
  • The theme of The Fountainhead, said Ayn Rand, is “individualism versus collectivism, not in politics, but in man’s soul.” How do the motives and actions of Roark, Keating and Toohey dramatize this theme? In your essay, consider what Ayn Rand has to say in these excerpts from her writings.