National Day on Writing

Writing Contests

Kassoff 2018 logo

The Kossoff family has provided a generous donation to sponsor a university-wide writing contest in fond memory of Arnold Kossoff. Mr. Kossoff wrote daily, reflecting on life, happiness, truth, and more mundane concerns like the significance of his first car.

This annual writing contest is an opportunity for you to reflect on your life and values and to honor the memory of Arnold Kossoff.

Essays should be 450-650 words

Topics can be broad-ranging but must be focused and purposeful. We are open to any style of essay (personal, persuasive, expository, lyric, and so on) and hope contestants will be inspired by the spirit of Mr. Kossoff’s work.

Writing will be judged by staff from the UCEW, who will narrow the pools to three winners in graduate and undergraduate categories. Final decisions will be made by the writer who reads from their work each National Day on Writing. The winners in each category will read their essays at that same event:

In the spirit of Mr. Kossoff’s writing, essays will be evaluated on:

  • originality
  • clarity
  • thoughtfulness
  • significance
  • organization
  • development
  • impact
  • writing quality

There will be a $400 award given to the best undergraduate and graduate essays (presuming at least 8 entries are submitted in each category). Eligible writers must be currently enrolled students at the time of the award. Winning essays will be published in Coastlines Literary Journal and then made available online. Winners will also receive a signed copy of the judge’s latest book.

Please submit your entries to:  

Make sure to provide a coverpage with your submission with your:

Submission Title
Phone #
Email Address

Please only provide the title and last four digits of your phone number as the only identification on the essay itself.

Timeline for submission:

August 1: Contest officially opens university-wide.
October 7: Submission period ends.
October 18: Contest winners will read from their winning entries at National Day on Writing Event at 6:00 pm in the Theatre Lab.

You will find samples of Mr Kossoff’s writing linked below. 

April 12th, 2013 . . . Tracks in the Sands of Time

October 12th, 2002--"Hineni" . . . A Very Special Word to Me

7/25/94 . . . . . . A Very Special Friend, My Car!

July 23rd, 2001 -- "Who can You Trust?"


Archive of Previous Winners