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December 16, 2018

Henry Miller once said writing is its own reward. This may be true on an intellectual level, but a cash prize is pretty sweet, too.

The 2018 Hare & Bell Academic Writing Contest winners are (from left to right) Savannah Price, Talita Shirky and Brandon Bender.

If you’re a student enrolled at JCCC, you have a chance to win up to $500 for your writing when you enter the 2019 Hare & Bell Writing Contest. All students are welcome and encouraged to enter.

Submit an essay, exposé, analysis or any other form of academic writing by Feb. 15—any length, any topic. A panel of eight judges from multiple academic areas serve as judges. You could win:

  • First place $500
  • Second place $300
  • Third place $100

But you get more than just the green. Winning papers will be published on ScholarSpace, one of the College’s databases of faculty and student research. You’ll also be recognized at the Cavalier Conference on Writing and Literature in April.

"A word after a word after a word is power." Margaret Atwood

Kathryn Byrne, Professor and Director of JCCC’s Writing Center and contest coordinator, says she wants students to see their writing has value and interest to an audience beyond the classroom.

“Too often, students slave over a paper, turn it in, and the instructor returns it with a grade on it. That paper goes into a desk drawer or thumb drive or the trash and is never read again,” Byrne says. “Writing is more than a class assignment. It’s a conversation with others that we ask our students to engage in only too briefly.”

Last year 38 students entered the contest. After the flurry cleared, three students were named winners:

  • First place: Brandon Bender, “America’s Most Infamous Chief Justice: A Profile of Roger B. Taney”
  • Second place: Talita Shirky, “On Stupidity and the Ban”
  • Third place: Savannah Price, “Keep Calm, Carry On, Exchange Insurance”

Winning was much more than a cash prize for these students. As Talita noted, she’d loved to write when she was younger but as life grew busier writing became more of an exercise than a creative outlet.

“Winning this contest has given me a boost to continue investing in my writing,” she said.

For Savannah, it was equally personal.

“I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I’d never entered a college writing contest,” she said. “I wanted the confidence to know that others thought I have talent as well.”

“I write to discover what I know.” Flannery O'Connor

“We look for style, voice, accuracy, intellectual engagement, or the significance of what the author is trying to communicate, and higher-level thinking,” said Byrne.

Here’s everything you need to know:

  • Submission deadline Feb. 15, 2019
  • Any topic of interest – academic writing only
  • No minimum word or page count
  • Winners announced in April and recognized at the Cavalier Conference on Writing and Literature

Send your submission or any questions to Kathryn Byrne. Include “Hare&Bell2019” and your last name in the subject line.

Free writing help on campus

If one of your academic goals is to improve your writing, check out the Writing Center in LIB 308. The drop-in center provides free tutoring, assessments and grammar checks. You can even run your assignments through software that helps improve your writing.