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The Big Read Essay Contest

Do you like to write? Are you competitive? Enter the 2014 BIG READ essay contest. First semester freshmen will compete against their peers. The winners will be revealed during the New Student Convocation on August 17. 



1st Place: $150 Bookstore Gift Card and Other Gifts

2nd Place: $75 Bookstore Gift Card and Other Gifts

3rd Place: $25 Bookstore Gift Card and Other Gifts



  • All submissions must be received by August 4, 2014.
  • Entries should be between 500-1000 words (maximum).
  • Essays should be original student work.
  • All entries should be typed and sent by e-mail as a WORD document attachment to bparker2@coastal.edu. The subject line should read 2014 BIG READ essay submission.
  • Entries must include student's name, CCU email address, student ID number and current cell phone number.

Essay Contest judges will look for:

  • Essays that cite specific examples from outside resources as supporting evidence.    
  • Content that illustrates the student's quality and originality of thought.
  • Proper citation of supporting material in MLA format.
  • Strong writing style.
  • Correct spelling, grammar, usage, and punctuation.
  • Effective strategies for organization.

Essay Prompt:

The Big Read book shows how Nelson Mandela embraced the rugby team as a symbol of national unity. Ironically, rugby had, up to that point, been seen as a symbol of the minority white oppression and political domination of the majority black population in South Africa. Thus, the title of the book, Playing the Enemy, takes on at least two meanings. The South African rugby team literally played the enemy (the opposing team), but Mandela played the enemy, too. He sought to partner with and benefit from his former enemies.

Many people say that, in order get along with others both politically and personally, we have to make deals with “the enemy.” We all have heartfelt beliefs and principles, but we are often told that long-term success requires working with and understanding others who have different beliefs and principles. Do you believe that success in life requires constant compromise and cooperation? Or do you believe that success comes from sticking firmly to a set of ideas? What does the Big Read book teach you about the value (or lack of value) in making “deals with the enemy”?