OBOC Spring Essay Contest

Participate in the One Book, One College Essay Contest! Join the campus in reading VVC’s selected book of the academic year, Washington Black by Esi Edugyan & respond to one of the following prompts below inspired by the book for your chance at winning a monetary prize! First Place= $500; Second Place= $300; Third Place= $200. Please see the rules/ guidelines and prompt options below.


Rules & Guidelines



Student participants must be active and currently enrolled at VVC for the Spring 2021 semester.



This contest is facilitated through the One Book, One College program & made possible by its affiliate, Dr. Peter Francev, & sponsored by VVC’s Foundation Grant. A big thank you to the VVC Foundation & Dr. Peter Francev from the English Department! 


Contest Period

Essay submissions are accepted between MARCH 15th - July 18 BEFORE 11:59pm


How to Enter

Students must submit their essay’s final draft before the deadline. Select the "Continue" button below to start your essay submission. Only PDF submissions for essays are accepted.


Agreement to Official Rules

Students can only respond to one prompt to participate in the contest. Only one submission is accepted per student. Resubmissions are not accepted once submitted. Submissions are disqualified if the following occurs: essay submissions are not submitted in the proper format, do not abide by any of the guidelines given in prompt or rules for the contest, if evidence arises of plagiarism, if essays are submitted after the deadline, or if the student’s active/ enrollment status for Spring 2021 cannot be verified or is not current.



Monetary awards will be given to students who place: First Place= $500; Second Place= $300; Third Place= $200. Winners will be contacted through VVC email from an OBOC representative before the Fall 2021 semester begins.


For Questions

Email Brittany.Morgan@VVC.edu  or Jamie.Fisher@VVC.edu


Available Prompts

Prompt 1:

Maya Angelou wrote, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Often, who gets to tell their story or have a voice at any table is predicated upon race, gender, class, or other social markers.

Through the lens of its narrator, Washington Black explores the consequences of silencing black voices in the sciences, in relationships, and in socio-political spaces. Write a paper that argues what the text demonstrates about the power of voice and connect your argument to a wider conversation about marginalized voices in society and in history. Support your reasoning with evidence and examples.


Prompt 2:

Tanna compels Wash to illustrate the images for her father’s book despite his disinterest in the idea. Review the quote below and write a persuasive essay in support of Tanna’s position that representation matters & discuss its impact on society. Support your reasoning with evidence and examples.


Father's book will be a success, I am sure, and much more so with your hand at work in it than my own. And I think you must do it, my dear poor Washington Black. If not for yourself, then for those like you who would never get the chance of it. Men as talented as you, who will never get the chance of anything.

What difference does it make?

I think it makes a great difference (Edugyan 279).


Formal Requirements

You must:

    • have a clear thesis statement addressing objectives in prompt
    • use paragraph & essay organizational concepts
    • maintain an academic tone
    • be a minimum of 5 full pages to 7 pages maximum
    • abide by MLA format including a works cited page


Click on "Continue" button below to start your essay submission.