2006 DB Essay Contest Guidelines


Essay Topic

The Kite Runner’s opening sentence, “I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975,” refers to Amir’s failure to intervene when Assef assaults Hassan. Analyze Amir’s movement towards actively accepting personal and social responsibility for his earlier failure. Discuss in what ways this novel about an Afghanistan immigrant can contribute to the development of a reader’s own sense of ethical obligations to self, to others, and to community (however it is defined).


To be eligible to submit an essay, you must

  • be a currently enrolled student at UAB as of the contest deadline; or
  • be employed as a faculty member at UAB as of the contest deadline; or
  • be employed as a staff member at UAB as of the contest deadline.
  • Members of the 2006 UAB Book Discussion Committee* and their immediate family are not eligible.

    Submission Requirements

    Essays should be approximately between 500 and 1,200 words in length.

    Include the following information on the first page of your essay:

    Your name and category (freshman student, student, faculty, staff)

    UAB mailing address and telephone number if you are a faculty or staff member; current mailing address and telephone number if you are a student

    E-mail address

    The statement: “This essay is my own original work. I understand that, if selected as a winning essay, it may be posted on the Discussion Book web site, appear in UAB publications, or distributed by UAB without additional compensation to myself.”

    No name or identifying information should appear in your essay or on any page other than the first page.

    Submit your typed essay electronically to jsizemor@uab.edu with “Discussion Book essay” in subject line. Deadline for receipt is 5 pm, Friday, December 8, 2006.

    Selection Process

    Essays will be reviewed by the 2006 UAB Discussion Book Committee* on the following criteria:

  • The essay demonstrates an understanding of one of the significant themes or issues in the Discussion Book.
  • The essay demonstrates the writer's serious reflection on the question.
  • The essay is focused and well-reasoned.
  • The essay is written clearly, with correct spelling and grammar.
  • A UAB Discussion Book Award certificate and $100 will be awarded to the author of the best essay in each of four categories: freshman students, students other than freshmen, faculty, and staff. The Discussion Book Committee reserves the right to not award a prize in any category if the number or quality of entries is deemed insufficient.

    Winners will be notified in spring term. Winning essays will be posted on the Discussion Book website.

    * 2006 UAB Discussion Book Committee: Thomas Alexander, Carolyn Braswell, DeeDee Bruns, William Cockerham, Robert Corley, Allan Dobbins, Michael Froning, William Hutchings, J. Michael Kilby, Marilyn Kurata (chair), James McClintock, Lindsey Nobles, Rodney Tucker, Dale Turnbough, Bettye Wilson.

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