UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – “What keeps me from chasing my dreams? asks Grade 11 student Faith Elia from Churchville, Pa., in her essay “Divergent”. This first-place essay explores how Veronica Roth’s novel of the same title inspired Elia to take risks by coming to terms with her differences and her independence despite fears of the Wordstruck Micro Essay 2021 competition.
Wordstruck: Micro Essays on Literature that Redefined You is an essay competition administered by the Pennsylvania (PA) Center for the Book for Pennsylvanians in grades 10-12 and invites writers to describe how a self-selected piece of literature has redefined their behavior, attitude, worldview and / or personal perspective.
Elia submitted her essay as part of classwork assigned by Rhonda Sharp, English teacher at Council Rock High School South. As this year’s first place winner, Elia will receive $ 350.
Second place winner Haley Qin of Pittsburgh is also recognized for her essay “Layers Upon Layers” on the novel “Call Me by Your Name” by André Aciman. She writes that this novel has taught her to view “the fragmented stories that make up everyone’s current chapter” with deeper empathy.
Qin graduated from Upper Saint Clair High School and headed to Cornell University. She will receive $ 150 for her second place essay.
State judges for the Pennsylvania Center for the Book Wordstruck 2021 competition included:
Emily R. Aguilo-Perez, Assistant Professor of English – Children’s Literature, West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania
Carolyn Cook, Associate Professor of Education and Department Chair, Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, Maryland, and resident of Shippensburg, PA
Marjorie Maddox Hafer, Poet, Author and Professor of English and Creative Writing, Lock Haven University, Lock Haven, PA
Theresa M. Hoover, Assistant Professor of Education, Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA
Bernadette A. Lear, Affiliate Professor, Penn State Education Library and PA Center for the Book – University Park, and Reference Librarian – Penn State Harrisburg, Harrisburg, PA
The PA Center for the Book is an affiliate of the Center for the Book established in 1977 at the Library of Congress. It encourages the citizens and residents of Pennsylvania to study, honor, celebrate, and promote books, reading, libraries, and literacy.
In addition to the Wordstruck competition, the PA Center for the Book administers the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, the Public Poetry Project, Words of Art, A Baker’s Dozen: The Best Children’s Books for Family Literacy, Poems de life, and interactive maps of Pennsylvania’s literary and cultural heritage.
For more information on the Wordstruck competition, visit the Wordstruck: Micro Essays on Literature that Redefined You page on the PA Center for the Book website, or contact Nicole Miyashiro, Writer in Residence ([email protected]).