The Fountainhead Essay Contest 2010

The Fountainhead

25th Annual Essay Contest on Ayn Rand's Novel The Fountainhead

For 11th and 12th Graders
Entry Deadline: April 25, 2010

  • FIRST PRIZE: $10,000
  • 5 SECOND PRIZES: $2,000
  • 10 THIRD PRIZES: $1,000
  • 45 FINALISTS: $100
  • 175 SEMIFINALISTS: $50

The Fountainhead—Topics

Select ONE of the following three topics:
  1. Howard Roark refuses a major contract when he most needs it, claiming that his action was “the most selfish thing you’ve ever seen a man do.” (Part I, Chapter 15) Why does he call his action selfish? And why do other people call it selfless?
  2. Gail Wynand is a brilliant individual who rose out of the slums by means of his own talent and effort. But despite his reverence for man’s noblest achievements, his newspaper, The Banner, presents the most lurid and loathsome values. Why does Wynand pander in this manner? And why doesn’t Howard Roark?
  3. 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 Fountainhead—Judging

Essays will be judged on both style and content. Judges will look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophic meaning of The Fountainhead.

Essay submissions are evaluated in a fair and unbiased multi-round judging process. To ensure the anonymity of our participants, cover sheets and identifying information are removed after the first round. Winners’ names remain unknown to judges until after the essays have been ranked and the contest results finalized. ARI checks essays with Ithenticate plagiarism detection software.

The Fountainhead—Rules

No application is required.

Entrant must be in the 11th or 12th grade.

Contest is open to students worldwide.

Essay must be no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length and double-spaced. One entry per student, please.

Essay must be submitted online or postmarked by April 25, 2010, no later than 11:59 PM, Pacific time.

Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification.

Decisions of the judges are final.

Employees of the Ayn Rand Institute, its board of directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest. Past first-place winners are not eligible for this contest.

All entries become the property of the Ayn Rand Institute and will not be returned.

Winners, finalists, semifinalists and all other participants will be notified via e-mail and/or by mail by July 27, 2010.

The Fountainhead—To Enter

» Submit Your Essay via Our Web Form

Click on the above link to access our Web Form. Simply fill in your contact information (this takes the place of a cover sheet), copy and paste your essay into the designated field and click "Submit." A message stating "Your entry is being routed" will immediately follow. You will receive an e-mail acknowledging receipt of your entry within 24 hours. If you have not received e-mail notification within 24 hours, please e-mail

Students unable to submit their essays online may mail essays to:

The Fountainhead Essay Contest
The Ayn Rand Institute
P.O. Box 57044
Irvine, CA 92619-7044

For mailed-in essays only: You MUST include a stapled cover sheet with the following information: your name; mailing address; e-mail address (if available); the name and address of your high school; topic selected (#1, 2 or 3 from the list above); your current grade level and (if applicable) the name of the teacher who assigned the essay.

If you wish to verify our receipt of your essay, please paperclip a stamped, self-addressed postcard to the essay.

Please do not submit duplicate essays!

Comments or questions about the essay contests are welcome.
Please write to


1 Comment:

Essays Writing said...

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