Read the winning essays from previous years »
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world, providing readers with a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Now, we are proud to host our fourth annual Penguin Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest, in which five high school freshmen or sophomores (or home-schooled students aged 14-16) can each win a $1,000 scholarship award to be used toward their higher education plus a selection of Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions for their school or public library! Essays must be submitted by a high school English teacher (or a parent/legal guardian for home-schooled students) on behalf of students who write an essay on one of five topics for this year’s competition book, Ceremony.
This year’s essay subject is Ceremony.
Select one of the following five topics: For all these questions, use quotations from the text to support your interpretation.
Penguin Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest
IMPORTANT: Please read these Official Rules before entering the Penguin Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest (the “Contest”), presented by Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC (“Sponsor”). By entering the Contest, you agree to the terms of these Official Rules. These Official Rules shall govern in the event of any inconsistency with other Contest-related materials.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.
The Contest is open to 9th and 10th grade full-time matriculated students who are attending high schools located in the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, or homeschooled students between the ages of 14-16 who are residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia at time of entry. All federal, state, and local regulations apply. LIMIT ONE ENTRY PER PERSON. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED. Employees of Sponsor its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers, and agencies, and their immediate family members and persons living in their household are not eligible to enter the Contest.
The Contest begins at 12:01 AM (EST) on July 1, 2019, and ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on April 24, 2020. All entries must be postmarked by April 24, 2020 and received on or by May 1, 2020.
HOW TO ENTER:
Sponsor is not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry of information by entrants; lost or late entries; or other errors or problems of any kind whether mechanical, human, or electronic. Incomplete or illegible entries will be voided. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be returned. If for any reason the Contest is not capable of being conducted as described in these rules, Sponsor shall have the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest.
Submissions including photographs may not include obscene, offensive or inappropriate (in Sponsor’s sole and absolute discretion) material or defame any person, or otherwise infringe on any person’s proprietary rights. If you are submitting a photograph, you must have permission from the photographer (or be the photographer yourself) and have permission from any persons who appear in the photo before submitting it.
Five (5) Grand Prize Winner(s) will each receive (i) a check for one thousand dollars ($1,000) to be used toward winner’s tuition and/or expenses related to their higher education; and (ii) a selection of Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions for the winner’s school library, or public library in the case of a home-schooled winner. (Grand Prize Approximate Retail Value: $2,000)
No transfer or cash or other substitution of all or part of a prize is permitted, except by Sponsor, which reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to substitute the prize or prize component with another of comparable or greater value. Any and all taxes on the prize will be the responsibility of the winners. Sponsor shall not be responsible for any delays, damage in the delivery of the prize, and/or loss of any prize in connection with delivery of the prize via mail. In the event that there is an insufficient number of eligible entries, Sponsor reserves the right not to award the prizes.
Five (5) Grand Prize Winner(s) will be selected by a qualified panel of independent scholars chosen by Penguin Publishing Group on or about June 26, 2020 from all eligible entries received by the entry deadline. Entries will be judged on style, content, grammar, and originality, with equal weight being given to each criterion. Judges will look for clear, concise writing that is original, articulate, logically organized, and well supported. Winning essays must demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the themes and issues presented in Ceremony.
The decisions of the Sponsor with respect to the selection of the winners, and in regard to all matter relating to this Contest, shall be final and binding. Winners will be notified via email and must respond to email notification within ten (10) days of receipt. Winners may also be required to complete, execute and return an Affidavit of Eligibility and Release. The Winner’s school library or public library in the case of a home-schooled winner that will receive a selection of Penguin Classics Deluxe editions shall also be required to provide a Federal Tax Identification Number to Sponsor for issuance of a 1099 form, in connection with its receipt of this portion of the prize. Noncompliance with these conditions may result in forfeiture of the Prize, and Sponsor reserves the right to select alternate winners in such circumstance. If winner notification of the Prize is returned as undeliverable, Sponsor may, at its discretion, select an alternate winner.
By competing in this Contest and/or accepting the prize, entrants agree that Sponsor, and its respective parent companies, assigns, subsidiaries and affiliates, and advertising, promotion and fulfillment agencies and all of their respective employees, officers and directors will have no liability whatsoever, and will be held harmless by entrants for any liability for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind to person and property resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from the acceptance, possession, misuse, or use of the prizes, or participation in this Contest. By accepting a prize, each Winner and their parents and /or legal guardians consents and grants Sponsor a non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free license to use their name, city, comments, photographs and/or other likenesses and their entries for publicity, advertising or informational purposes, including without limitation, posting on Sponsor’s Contest website, Facebook pages, Twitter or Instagram accounts, with no additional compensation or further permission (except where prohibited by law).
Any dispute arising from this Contest will be determined according to the laws of the State of New York, without reference to its conflict of law principles, and by entering the entrants consent to the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in New York County and agree that such courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all such disputes.
For a list of the Winners, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope by December 26, 2019 to Penguin Publishing Group, Academic Marketing Department, Attn: Penguin Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
SPONSOR: Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
The title for the 5th Annual Penguin Classics Essay Contest will be The Pearl by John Steinbeck. Essay topics will be posted on our website after July 2020.