Winners of the Montclair Book 2011 Essay Contest

The Center for Writing Excellence is pleased to announce the winners for the first Montclair Book Essay Contest. We extend our congratulations to Lillian Blanco, Anton I. Botha, Chynna DeStefano, and Sandra C. Medina! The Create Your Own “Geography of Bliss” Essay Contest was offered as part of the year-long activities surrounding Montclair Book 2011, a common reading experience for first-year students. The book chosen for the first year of this new program was Eric Weiner’s nonfiction travelogue, The Geography of Bliss. The essay prompt asked undergraduate students to consider the meaningful places in their lives and to describe and convey three locations that would comprise their own “geography of bliss.”

The CWE consultants faced a difficult task in choosing the winning submissions from the many outstanding entries. The four essays chosen represent a variety of perspectives and writing styles.

Lillian Blanco’s essay, “Map the Atlas of My Brain: Geography of Bliss” was awarded the winning prize of $100.

Three second-place winners were selected and awarded $25 each:
Anton I. Botha, “The Geography of Bliss…”
Chynna DeStefano, “Anywhere They’d Rather Not Be”
Sandra C. Medina, “The Utopian Places of My Life”.

A certificate for honorable mention will be given to nine essays that qualified for the final round, and letters of recognition will be given to all other students who submitted their essays to the contest. A total of thirty entries were received.

The CWE will host a celebration honoring the winners and participants on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 1:00pm.

The Center for Writing Excellence is available to all university students, faculty, staff, and alumni who are committed to developing and improving as writers. Sessions with experienced writing consultants are designed to provide help on every aspect of the writing process, with the goal of enabling writers to achieve long-term improvement, confidence, and independence. The CWE is located on the first floor of Sprague Library (in the far right corner of the Reference area). For more information, go to