Skip to main content
The Fountain Essay Contest 2020 – 2021
Nov 7, 2020

My COVID-19 Story: Reflections on Life and Human Existence During the Pandemic

Submissions to be posted: November 1, 2020 – March 1, 2021

The Coronavirus touched virtually every corner of the globe and almost every person’s life in some way. Hundreds of thousands have already died, and. its economic ramifications have been disastrous. Individuals have been separated from extended family members and communities; schools and places of worship have been closed.

We want to hear your COVID-19 story. What has the virus taught you about life? If you were not infected, what has your experience been like as an “outsider?”

  • How did you manage to cope with quarantine, change of routines, loss of social interaction, and perhaps a decreased sense of community?
  • If you are a religious person, what was it like when your place of worship was closed? How did you feel about God during this “calamity”?
  • Have your thoughts on the meaning and purpose of life been affected?

We encourage our contestants to explore this issue in a way that is most meaningful to them, and to do so while making sure to avoid speculative narratives and political polarization.

  • Deadline for submissions: March 1, 2021. Winners will be announced on May 31, 2021.
  • Contest open to all writers worldwide
  • Ideal word count to be between 1,500 and 2,500

Cash prizes

  • 1st Place - $1,000
  • 2nd Place - $500
  • 3rd Place - $300
  • Two Honorable Mentions - $150 each

Frequently Asked Questions


What qualifies a good essay?

An essay that you feel your heart rests more comfortably on. The more concise an essay, the more acceptable it is. Its authenticity and uniqueness, and how elaborately you put your theme into words so that others are inspired from it.


Do we have to include references, bibliography, notes, etc. as in an academic journal?

The Fountain is not a journal. Thus, we do not expect a full scale reference list for all the information you provide. But, we encourage contributors to provide at least a reasonable number of references (not more than four or five) especially for the arguments borrowed from other sources, as it would make your work more reliable. If the kind of information you provide needs citation, please provide it; but essays with lengthy references are not preferred. Some reference and recommendations for further reading may help readers who are interested in the essay. Accuracy of data is expected in essays in which information provided needs sourcing. An essay based on personal experience does not require citation, and it is equally acceptable.


Does the word count limit include the bibliography or just the essay itself?

The Fountain is not a full-scale academic journal, so we expect authors to keep references to a maximum of four or five. Notes can be more. References and notes do not make a big change in word count which is advised to be between 1,500 and 2,500. A range is always necessary to be able to have an objective measure in terms of size.


What kind of writing style do you expect? Can we use informal phrases? Is this essay supposed to be a personal opinion piece, or more of a scholarly supported article?

In writing style, we mainly seek consistency. We prefer the Chicago Manual of Style, but if you are more familiar with another style, that is also acceptable. Some informal usage can be OK in a certain essay, but not in another. It is basically the author’s call.

Would an essay in the short story genre qualify for the contest?

As long as your theme is skillfully woven through its structure, and if it upholds The Fountain’s values and principles, yes.


Are you going to publish submitted essays anywhere?

We might publish submissions in The Fountain, both the print and web editions, even if the essays did not win any prize. By submitting your essay to this contest, you agree that you give permission to The Fountain to publish it in any medium.

As the copyright holders before published, the authors have the right to submit their work elsewhere on condition that they notify The Fountain in advance.


Can I submit more than one essay?

No. One entry per person.


What makes an essay disqualified?

  • Offensive and devotional essays—particularly essays that emphasize superiority of a specific worldview or derogating a specific worldview—will be disqualified. Essays that "propagate" a certain spiritual order, a religious denomination, a spiritual leader, or a political activist, etc. in a way that subordinates all other faiths and traditions are considered devotional and will be disqualified.
  • Title is missing – Do not forget to put a title. Titles are important for readers and reviewers to see what lies in the center of your message. Missing title will disqualify your submission.


Who will determine the winners? Can you explain more specifically what you are looking for in a winner?

The winners will be determined by our board who will decide according to the literary effectiveness of the essay in reflecting the philosophy behind the motto, richness in content, and authenticity.

All submitted essays will be evaluated using the following criteria.

  1. Relevance to the contest theme (40 points)
  2. Innovation & creativity (30 points)
  3. Writing style and structure (30 points)


How am I going to submit my essay?

Submissions for this content are now over. Good luck!


When is the last day for submissions?

March 1, 2021


When will the winners be announced?

May 31, 2021.


Who is eligible to participate in this contest?

There is no age limit or a condition to fulfill for entry. The contest is open to all who want to share his or her ideas with us.