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Common Reading Essay Contest

Library Common Reading Essay Contest


The Common Reading Essay Contest and the Common Reading Book for 2014-2015 is now open until Friday 13 February 2015.

The contest has closed.

This contest is open to any first year student (freshman) in the 2014-2015 academic year.


To make your essay a strong contender for one of the three prizes, here are some recommendations.

  1. Essays must be at least 2 pages in length and no more than 5 pages in length.  Title pages and notes pages do not count.
  2. Do not retell the story.  Essay reviewers have already read the book.
  3. Write about YOUR story - how did the book affect you, your viewpoints, your perceptions?
  4. Refer to specific passages in the book when establishing a bond or parallel between the story and something in your life (past, present, or future).
  5. Do not quote from the book.  Do not rewrite passages.
  6. Good grammar is always welcome.
  7. Write naturally.  Be yourself.  Tell your story in your words.
  8. Don't let the first draft be the final draft.  Put the essay down for a day or two.  This will allow you to think about what you have written and make changes to the next draft.
  9. Above all - be honest, seek to find your true and deepest feelings about what you are trying to express.


The Common Reading Book for 2014-2015 is "No Turning Back" by Bryan Anderson with David Mack.

  • Three copies have been placed on Course Reserves at each of the Green Library MMC and Hubert Library BBC.  Please visit the Circulation Desk of either campus library.

Visit Bryan Anderson's website.

From Bryan Anderson:

"Before you dig into this book, there are a few things I think you should know. First, I was a soldier, and I still talk like one-in other words, I swear. So, if bad words bother you, just squint and pretend you don't see them.  I want you to know this book is not about the war in Iraq, and I'm not pushing a political agenda. Even though I'm going to tell you about the day I was wounded and what I went through during rehab, this book's not just some war memoir or a pity party. I just want to share some of my stories with you. This book is not about being wounded. It's not about struggling.  This book is about living. It's about life."

In this inspiring memoir, Bryan shares his infectious love for life that touches anyone who's faced hardship. No Turning Back is a testament to pure hard work, perseverance, and hope for a better life- no matter what shape it takes.