Riverside Dickens Festival High School Essay Contest 2018

Riverside Dickens Festival High School Essay Contest 2018

The festival this year is once again sponsoring an essay contest for high school writers.  Prizes of $100, $50, and $25 are available for entries judged worthy of an award. The essay contest is intended to encourage literacy through reading Dickens with thought and expression on the relevance of his works to a larger historical context for social issues.  The high school essay is based on the reading of Great Expectations.



The topic for the high school essay is as follows:

In the novel Great Expectations, things are not what they seem.  Discuss how the theme of “expectations” is illustrated by and through the characters.  How are Pip’s expectations different from and similar to those of Joe Gargery, Miss Havisham, Estella and Magwitch?



General Information and Rules:

Entries are limited to students who reside in and are schooled in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Only typed or word processed entries will be accepted.  Essays must be 1,000 or fewer words.  (A maximum of four typewritten pages of 10 or 12-point type).  Before submission to the Festival for judging, entries should be proofread carefully by the student to correct errors in mechanics, diction, structure, and phrasing.

Additionally, all direct quotation, summary or paraphrase of outside researched materials must be referenced with citation and documentation of the source through an accepted format (MLA or APA).  Quotes from Dickens should cite the chapter and page number.  Failure to do so results in plagiarism, which is basis for immediate disqualification of the essay for consideration.

It is recommended for teachers to assign Great Expectations for reading and discussion in class and to assign and evaluate an essay to encourage, provide feedback, and prepare the student for the essay contest.   

Entries should be submitted by mail, addressed to High School Essay Contest, Riverside Dickens Festival. P.O. Box 113, Riverside, CA 92502-0113, postmarked no later than Friday, December 22, 2017.

Awards will be announced and presented Saturday, February 24, 2018 during the Festival in downtown Riverside.  Winners will be notified in advance.

No information identifying the essayist and his or her school should be on the essay.  However, the following information must be attached to each entry on a separate 8 ½ by 11-inch sheet of paper:

  • Writer’s name, age, grade, school, class in which contest entry was created (e.g. English, language arts, or home room).
  • Teacher’s complete name, school telephone number and classroom extension where appropriate, and email address.
  • A non-school telephone number that will be used only if necessary to notify a winner.

All entries become the property of the Riverside Dickens Festival, Inc. and will not be returned.  Winners and their parents or guardians agree that their pictures and names may be used in Riverside Dickens Festival promotional materials and publications.

Judging will be based on originality in addressing the contest topic and skill of presentation, both creative and technical.

Judges may decide not to award a prize if they deem there is no entry of sufficient merit.

For additional information, call (951) 781-3168.