March 1, 2022
PEN America is inviting submissions for a new national student essay competition about the role of free expression in today’s world. The nonprofit literary organization wants to know what high school students (aged 15–17) think about the threats to this crucial right in the US or abroad. Experts at PEN America and prominent guest judges (advocates, educators, writers, and artists) will judge essays for their originality, clarity of thought, and relevance to free expression. Winning essays will be published on PEN America’s website and promoted on the organization’s social media channels. The top three high school–level essayists will receive $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively.
Deadline: Essays must be received on or before April 15, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. (ET); winners will be announced in May 2022.