The Fountainhead Essay Contest - Ayn Rand Institute

About this Award: 

Have you read one of Ayn Rand’s thought-provoking novels? Now’s the time! Enter the Ayn Rand Institute's The Fountainhead essay contest for your chance to win thousands of dollars in scholarship prize money. 



$10,000 (1st place)

$2,500 (2nd place)

$500 (3rd place)

$50 (4th place)


Number of Awards Available: 




April 29, 2021


Region of Study: 



Level of Study: 

High school


Eligibility : 

No application is required. Contest is open to students worldwide, except where void or prohibited by law. Essays must be written in English only.

Entrant must be in the 11th or 12th grade for any part of the school year in which the contest is held. ARI reserves the right to make exceptions to this rule, on a case-by-case basis, for international students or for students with nonstandard school years.


Essay Required?: 



Essay Details: 

Select one of the following three topics:


1. In his climactic courtroom speech, Howard Roark states: “The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite’s concern is the conquest of men.” Explain how this quote relates to the theme as dramatized through the characters of Howard Roark, Peter Keating and Ellsworth Toohey.

2. When Toohey first meets his niece Catherine, he is described as seeing a particular look on her face. What is the significance of his reaction to her look? How does his treatment of Catherine through the rest of the novel encapsulate his overall strategy for dealing with the world? For your essay, consider also what Ayn Rand says in the essay “Through Your Most Grievous Fault.”

3. Choose the scene in The Fountainhead that is most meaningful to you. Analyze that scene in terms of the wider themes in the book. In your essay, consider also what Ayn Rand has to say about what art, including literature, can do for us, in this excerpt from “The Goal of My Writing.”


Essay must be no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length, double-spaced. Spelling errors and/or written corrections (by anyone) found on the essay will count against the final grade and should be omitted before submission.

One entry per student per contest.


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