The Penguin Classics and Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contests

By Daryl Sela | February 10 2020 | English Language ArtsHigh School

Each year, Penguin Random House Education hosts two scholarship essay contests for high school students: The Signet Classics Essay Contest and the Penguin Classics Essay Contest.

The Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest, established in 1996, is open to qualifying high school juniors and seniors. In 2018-2019, students were asked to respond to questions about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

Click through to read the winning essays of the five Grand Prize Winners of the Twenty-Third Annual Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest:

  • Elijah Holton – Elijah is in the 12th grade at San Luis Obispo High School, San Luis Obispo, CA.
  • Victoria Lu – Victoria is in the 12th grade at South Side High School, Rockville Centre, NY.

 

The more recently established Penguin Classics Essay Contest is open to qualifying high school freshmen and sophomores. In 2018-2019, students were asked to respond to questions about The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

Click through to read the winning essays of the five Grand Prize Winners of the Third Annual Penguin Classics Scholarship Essay Contest:

  • Charlotte Brown  – Charlotte is in the 11th grade at Wasilla High School in Wasilla, AK.
  • Molly Cline – Molly is an 11th grade home-schooled student in Stone Mountain, GA.
  • Micah Cook – Micah is in the 11th grade at Calvary Christian High School in Clearwater, FL.

Congratulations to all winning ten students for their hard work—Penguin Random House Education is proud to support their academic success and the schools and teachers who make that success possible. Each winner has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship and a Signet Classics or a Penguin Classics Deluxe Library for their school or local public library.

We’re already looking forward to the 2019-2020 contests. English teachers are welcome to sponsor two students in each contest. Students entering the Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest (11th and 12th graders) will read Wuthering Heights , and students entering the Penguin Classics Scholarship Essay Contest will read Ceremony .

For the complete rules and instructions on how to enter the 2019-2020 contests, visit the pages below. Please take a moment to visit our FAQ pages for each contest, and reach out to EssayContest@PenguinRandomHouse.com with any questions.

 

 

 

Ceremony
(Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
978-0-14-310491-9
The great Native American Novel of a battered veteran returning home to heal his mind and spirit More than thirty-five years since its original publication, Ceremony remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature, a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Tayo, a World War II veteran of mixed ancestry, returns to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. He is deeply scarred by his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese and further wounded by the rejection he encounters from his people. Only by immersing himself in the Indian past can he begin to regain the peace that was taken from him. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, Ceremony is a work of enduring power. The Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition contains a new preface by the author and an introduction by Larry McMurtry.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
$18.00 US
Dec 26, 2006
Paperback
272 Pages
Penguin Classics
Grades 9-12 + AP/IB

Wuthering Heights
978-0-451-53179-7
There are few more convincing, less sentimental accounts of passionate love than the story of the tormented Heathcliff, who falls wildly in love with Catherine Earnshaw, the daughter of his benefactor, and of the violence and misery that result from their thwarted longing for each other.
$5.95 US
Mar 01, 2011
Mass Market Paperback
352 Pages
Signet
Grades 9-12 + AP/IB

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
978-0-451-53094-3
Rich in color and humor, this great novel follows the adventures of Huckleberry Finn and vividly recreates the world, the people, and the language that Mark Twain knew and loved from his own years on the frontier of the Mississippi.He has no mother, his father is a brutal drunkard, and he sleeps in a hogshead. He’s Huck Finn, a homeless waif, a liar and thief on occasion, and a casual rebel against respectability. But on the day he encounters another fugitive from trouble, a runaway slave named Jim, he also finds—for the first time in his life—love, acceptance, and a sense of responsibility. And it is in the exciting and moving story of these two outcasts fleeing down the Mississippi on a raft that a wonderful metamorphosis occurs. The boy nobody wants becomes a courageous human being with a sense of his own destiny.Includes an Introduction by Padgett Powelland an Afterword by Jayne Anne Phillips 
$5.95 US
May 06, 2008
Mass Market Paperback
336 Pages
Signet
Grades 6-12 + AP/IB

The Crucible
978-0-14-243733-9
A haunting examination of groupthink and mass hysteria in a rural communityA Penguin Classic   "I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history," Arthur Miller wrote in an introduction to The Crucible, his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller's drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria.   In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town's most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence.   Written in 1953, The Crucible is a mirror Miller uses to reflect the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy's "witch-hunts" in the United States. Within the text itself, Miller contemplates the parallels, writing: "Political opposition...is given an inhumane overlay, which then justifies the abrogation of all normally applied customs of civilized behavior. A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it with diabolical malevolence." For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
$15.00 US
Mar 25, 2003
Paperback
176 Pages
Penguin Classics
Grades 9-12 + AP/IB