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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Announcing the 2012 Common Reading Experience Essay Contest!

The 2012 UM Common Reading Experience book is Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. The book brings to light questions [of/about] ethics, the rush to judgment, Southern race relations, and human nature. After reading this book, write an essay that discusses ONE of the following:
  • William Faulkner claims that “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Does Franklin’s novel support this statement? How?
  • How do Larry Ott’s friendships compare to your definition of the term? How do they compare to each other? Toward the end of the novel, Larry begins to question his judgment of these relationships. What does that show the reader about Larry?
  • The novel certainly contains accounts of man’s flaws – Silas (32) wonders “what’s missing” out of him, the townspeople worry that Larry has turned into a monster because of the way he’s been treated, and Wallace’s flaws are exemplified in his relationships with women. What do these men’s flaws reveal about them, the society in which they live, and the families from which they came?

Original essays must be at least 1,000 words and must be emailed to no later than Friday, 10/12/2012.


Winning essays will be featured on the Center for Writing and Rhetoric website.

Cash Prizes of $150 will be awarded to one winner in each category.

  • LaFayette County High School Student
  • Oxford High School Student
  • UM- Booneville Student
  • UM- DeSoto Student
  • UM- Grenada Student
  • UM- Oxford Student
  • UM- Tupelo Student
  • UMMC Student (Jackson Campus)

Enter to win today!

In your email, please include the following: Name, phone number, address, email, and category (one only). Attach your essay (minimum of 1,000 words) to your email and send to: no later than Friday, October 12, 2012. Winners will be announced on October 31, 2012. Enter to win today!

All entries will be submitted to SafeAssign, an originality and resource verification tool. Writers are not required to cite to an outside source, but if they cite an external source, they must use a citation system of their choice. Work submitted for this essay may not have won other awards.
Winning entries may be published on the CWR website under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial (CC-BY-NC) licensing system; with submission the authors agree to that licensing. Further details are available on the Creative Commons website at