Banned Books Essay Contest - 2018Explore a world of banned books and censored ideas
The faculty has spoken and the following finalists were selected:
1st Place: “The Power of Women and the Power of Banned Books,” by Cadence Lusinsky, who explores the topic of gender inequality in banned books through Aristophanes’s ancient Greek comedy Lysistatra and won $200.
2nd Place: “The Necessity of Mirrors,” by Eduardo Muñoz, who wrote about some compelling lessons that can be learned from reading controversial books using Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a backdrop and won $100.
3rd Place: “Mightier than the Pen” by Paulo Flores-Arvizu, who authored an essay warning about the social and intellectual consequences of banning books using Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and was awarded $50.
Honorable Mention awards went to Safiyah Lakhany and Victoria Barrios, who each were awarded with a $15 Fullerton College Dining Services card.
Congratulations to our winning students!
About the Contest
Most books in existence have only been challenged; that is, someone somewhere objected to the book being included in a school reading list, a library, or in some other particular place where people have easy access to books. Some books have been outright banned, that is, owning, reading or distributing the book is forbidden by law—under penalty of fines, imprisonment, or in some cases—even pain of death. Fight for the right to read and access reading materials and the ideas in them! (From the American Library Association and Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read:)
Participate in an essay contest to explore the world of banned books and controversial ideas.
This Year’s Essay Questions:
1. What are the consequences of banning books that some people or groups deem inappropriate?
2. Referencing the book you have chosen, answer the following question: In what way(s) did reading a controversial book liberate you?
3 . Using examples from your chosen text, argue for the benefits of reading a potentially controversial book.
4 . Explain why you feel the banning / censoring of your selected text was (not) justified for its time.
First, second and third place winners will be awarded $200, $100, and $50 respectively.
Winners will be announced on October 23, 2018.
Contact: Val Macias | firstname.lastname@example.org
All currently enrolled Fullerton College students are eligible to participate.
- Choose and Read: Select and read a banned book: A banned book can be defined as, “any book that has been banned, censored, challenged or restricted.” The selected book can be any banned or challenged book. Ask any FC librarian with assistance in selecting or researching a banned book. The book does not have to be from FC Library.
- Write: Compose a 500 -1,000 word essay answering only one of the four essay prompts below using supporting ideas from the banned book of your choosing. Essay Prompts:
- What are the consequences of banning books that some people or groups deem inappropriate?
- Referencing the book you have chosen, answer the following question: In what way(s) did reading a controversial book liberate you?
- Using examples from your chosen text, argue for the benefits of reading a potentially controversial book.
- Explain why you feel the banning / censoring of your selected text was (not) justified for its time.
- Proofread carefully: Faculty from English and other departments will evaluate each essay on the following criteria:
- Strength of argument
- Adherence to the prompt
- Supporting details
- Language mechanics (i.e., grammar, spelling, and punctuation)
Use of the MLA format is encouraged.
- Submit: Send your essay (.docx or .doc format only) to email@example.com with the subject line “2018 Essay Contest Submission” due Friday, October 12, 2018, 3:00 P.M. Include your first name, last name, and Banner ID number on the essay. No hand-delivered paper submissions, please. Submissions sent after the posted date and time will not be considered.
Select a title from list of banned books for the 2018 contest.
Three winners (first, second and third place) will be announced on October 23, 2018. The prizes are as follows:
- $200 for first place
- $100 for second place
- $50 for third place
Certificates of achievement will be issued to the winners. Certificates of participation will be awarded to all participants upon request. An essay-reading event to announce the winners is planned for all participants and guests.
Come talk to any librarian at the reference desk for more details. You can also e-mail Val Macias at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fullerton College’s policy on plagiarism fully applies. Participating students who submit essays are responsible for submitting academically honest work by submitting original written work, with credit given to any sources where required, which includes the full, proper and complete use of citations and works cited pages. Essays with suspected plagiarism will be disqualified.
For more information on Banned Books week, please visit the American Library Association page: