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Essay Contest

2023 Winners

This year, three first place winners have been selected for the essay contest. The three winners of the $500 prize are:

- Lux Vargas - School of Communications, Cafecito Cubano
- Sophia Zhang - Medill School of Journalism, This is Blood
- Azan Malik - McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science, Reclaiming My Roots

Thank you to everyone who participated! We received 88 submissions this year, which is a record.  We really appreciated the quality of this year's submissions.

One Book Essay Contest 2023 – Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner

  • Deadline: Sunday, September 10, 2023, 11:59pm Central Standard Time (CST)
  • Eligible Participants: First Year and Transfer Students
  • <1000 Words
  • $500 Prize
One Book One Northwestern Photo Contest Image

One Book One Northwestern is awarding a $500 prize for the best essay response under 1000 words, which responds to this year's prompt:

Quotidian, everyday items often accompany significant life experiences. For Michelle Zauner, food was daily ordinariness and an emotion-laden representation of her bi-cultural legacy and relationship with her mother.

What routine part of daily life — food or something else — holds significant emotional meaning for you? How did it come to acquire that meaning? What role does it play in your memories and your life? You can be as broad or specific as you choose.

Only incoming first-year and transfer students are eligible to participate. Please submit your essay via this Google Form by 11:59 pm, Sunday, September 10, 2023, Central Standard time (CST). Please include your name, email address, and title on the submitted essay.

A committee of Northwestern faculty, selected by One Book, will review each submission.

The winner of the contest will be announced in October.