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20 Years Since: What Does 9/11 Mean To You?

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, the Office of Student Life and the English Department are proud to sponsor a very special writing competition.

OCC students are invited to submit an original piece of writing in response to the following question: “What Does 9/11 Mean to Me?” Submissions are welcomed in one of two categories: Creative Writing (a poem/or a short story) or Non-Fiction writing (an essay based on an interview that you have conducted with someone who lived through 9/11/01). The deadline to submit your writing is Friday, May 28, by 11:59 p.m. First-, second-, and third-place prizes will be awarded in each category. The top prize in each category will be $1,000!

Note: All submissions must be uploaded as Microsoft Word documents.

Writing Requirements

  • Poems should be no longer than 350 words.
  • Short stories should be no longer than 3,000 words.
  • Prose (Essay) submissions should be no longer than 3,000 words and must contain two parts:
    • Part 1: An interview you have conducted with someone who is at least 30-years-old and can share their vivid, personal recollections of where they were and what they experienced on September 11, 2001. This interview must be no longer than 2,500 words and must include the specific questions you’ve asked and the exact responses that your interviewee has given.
    • Part 2: A follow-up essay in which you reflect on this interview. You may choose to answer any of the following questions (or others of your own choosing) in your reflective essay: 1) What did you learn from this person? 2) What details really stood out for you during the course of your conversation? 3) What surprised you? 4) What were your thoughts about 9/11 prior to this interview? 5) Now that the interview is over, have your thoughts, opinions, impressions or feelings changed? This personal, reflective essay should be no longer than 500 words.

Competition Rules

  1. In order to submit an entry, you must be a registered student at Ocean County College during the spring 2021 semester. Alumni, faculty, and staff are not eligible to submit entries for this competition. However, they may agree to serve as interviewees for students choosing to write a reflective essay.
  2. All submissions must be original work that has not appeared elsewhere in print or is commissioned to appear elsewhere. Students may submit only one entry in the Fiction or the Non-Fiction categories, but they may submit in both categories. However, each student is only eligible to receive one prize even if she/he submits in both the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories. All entries should have a cover page that includes the student’s name, ID #, and the title of the story, poem or essay. Besides the cover page, the student’s name should not appear anywhere else in the submission.
  3. Submissions are made with the understanding that OCC reserves the right to re-publish winning entries as well as the names and likenesses of winners.
  4. Winners agree to appear at an awards ceremony where they will be asked to recite their work. In lieu of ceremony appearance, they agree to grant permission for their work to be recited at the ceremony.
  5. Submission of an entry carries with it the implicit agreement to abide by rulings of the selection committee.
20 Years Since: What Does 9/11 Mean To You?

Please attach your writing submission (.docx or .doc files only)

By checking this box, I acknowledge that I have reviewed the contest rules and accept the terms and conditions.

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