The American Friends of James Joyce and The Modern Word recently conducted their second High School Essay Contest, asking students to answer the question, “How has reading James Joyce helped me to think about my own life?”

We received a heartwarming number of essays, and selecting the grand prize winner was no easy task. Here are the winning essays, followed by three Honorable Mentions:

Winning Essays

1. A Portrait of the Artist
By Mara Wishingrad

2. Joyce Essay
By Derrick Stuart

Tie for Third Prize:

3. The Truth of Doubt
By Nicholas Shayne Boggs

3. Joyce Essay
By Lily Van Patten

Honorable Mentions:

For not merely braving the Wake, but taking it straight-on:

My Dublyartyssesganhood
By Thomas Cleveland

The "One of us, one of us" award:

Mania and Minutiae: My Joycean Consciousness
By Brittany Harwood

For honesty and introspection:

Joyce Essay
By Simon Tam


First Prize: $1000 cash scholarship (provided by the American Friends of James Joyce.)
Second Prize: A Great Books Foundation selection of classic works of literature.
Third Prize: A 4-volume set of James Joyce’s major works.

All winners, including honorable mentions, will remain on The Modern Word in perpetuity, at stable URLs, until the end of the world as we know it.

Your friendly neighborhood judges:

Robert DiYanni
Bob Joyce
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
Allen B. Ruch


The Joyce Essay Contest is sponsored by The American Friends of James Joyce and The Modern Word. Cooperating Co-sponsors include the Great Books Foundation and the James Joyce Centre of Dublin.

Featured Links


Great Books Foundation – The homepage of the Great Books Foundation. Contains links to their student programs.

The James Joyce Centre – Located in a restored Georgian townhouse in Dublin, the James Joyce Centre is dedicated to “promoting an interest in his life and works,” and contains members of the Joyce family on its board.