Academic | Essay Contest
Signet Classics Announces Winners of the 10th Annual Scholarship Essay Contest
New York, NY, June 2006 Signet Classics, the imprint of New American Library devoted for more than 40 years to publishing inexpensive paperback editions of more than 300 of the world's greatest literary works, has announced the winners of the ninth annual Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest. The Grand Prize Winners, listed in alphabetical order, are:
- Jacinta Ghaly
Jacinta is in 12th Grade, Cherokee High School North, Marlton, NJ.
- Jay Markson
Jay Markson is in 12th Grade, Apponequet Regional High School, Lakeville, MA
- Samuel Pimentel
Samuel Pimentel is in 12th Grade, The International School of the Hague, Netherlands
- Alina Sayre
Alina Sayre is in 12th Grade, homeschooled, Plantation Christian School, San Jose, CA
- Daniel Smith
Daniel Smith is in 12th Grade, St. David's School, Raleigh, NC
Essay Subject: Nectar in the Sieve
Topics for the 2006 Essay Contest:
- In what ways does "Kenny" seem fully accepting of Indian culture and in what ways does he seem less so,
even somewhat patronizing? Do his flaws and incorrect assumptions outweigh the genuine good he does for
individual Indians like Ruku and Puli. Cite specific examples to support your answer.
- Progress in the form of technological advancement, though beneficial to society as a whole, may represent
sorrowful and bewildering change for some individuals. How does this dilemma, as depicted in Nectar in a Sieve,
a novel written in the 1950s, seem relevant to our globalizing world? Give specific examples from the novel
in support of your answer.
- Different thinkers have different views on basic human nature. Some believe people are naturally good;
others believe they are evil; and still others believe that every person is neutral, a blank slate, whose
personality and behavior are shaped by environment and individual experiences. In Nectar in a Sieve, many
of the characters exist at subsistence level, struggling to survive. What does Markandaya's portrayal of
these people suggest about her view of human nature? Support your answer with specific references to details
in the novel.
- In the Introduction to the Signet Classics edition of Nectar in a Sieve, Indira Ganesan states: "Conflicts
arrive in this novel under many guises" (p. xi). Give examples to support this critical statement.
- Given the arbitrary and often destructive role of Nature in the lives of Rukmani and Nathan, why do they continue to love the land? Do you admire them? Support your answer with specific references to details in the novel.
The Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest was established in 1996 to encourage greater interest in reading among high school students by offering tangible assistance to the winning students and their schools. It is open to qualifying high school juniors and seniors in the United States. "We are proud to be involved in a unique scholarship program that encourages student appreciation for the great classics," notes Liz Perl, Vice President and Executive Director of Publicity for New American Library.
Entrants are required to submit a 2-3 page double-spaced, typewritten essay, answering one of four questions relating to the designated competition book. Essays must demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the themes in the book; clear, concise writing; and logical, well-supported arguments. Judges also consider style, content, grammar and originality. Five Grand Prize Winners are each awarded a $1,000 scholarship and a Signet Classics Library for their school (or local public library, in the case of home-schooled students), valued at $1,700.
The designated title for 2005-2006 was Nectar in the Sieve by Kamala Markandaya. The book selected for the 2006-2007 Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest is Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift.
For more information on the current Signet Classics Essay Contest, click here.
Entry forms and full information about the contest will also be available in high school English departments, or by writing to:
Penguin Group (USA)
Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
New American Library is a division of Penguin Group (USA), part of Pearson Plc, the international media group, and includes the imprints Signet, Signet Classics, Onyx, Roc and NAL Trade Paperbacks.
For more information, please contact
Carolyn Birbiglia, Penguin Group (USA) Publicist, at 212-366-2203.