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The Fountain Essay Contest 2023
Mar 1, 2023

How to Focus in an Era of Distractions

While you are reading this announcement in the center of your screen, a Whatsapp message from your spouse pops up in the right corner – she reminds you of the winter storm forecast for later today. “Finally,” you think, “this has been long awaited.” Rolling your mouse back, you notice on the left-hand side of the screen an email notification; it is from your manager and you cannot ignore it – he is expecting a report by tomorrow morning. You try to move your eyes back to this announcement but a text message from your neighbor drags you to your phone – he is asking what to do about the skyrocketing property tax appraisals. As your brain inadvertently starts doing calculations with the new rates you have already forgotten what announcement you were reading about in the first place.

The above scenario sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? It happens every day to all of us. We are constantly bombarded with breaking news, online notifications, unscheduled visits, calls, and so on. This comes with a huge toll: our productivity declines, we miss deadlines, we feel concerned and even depressed because of what we just heard happened in one remote corner of the world. What is more, we cannot even make much sense of our lives in that hustle and bustle; we fail to contemplate properly in order to focus on finding answers to the real questions that bother us all.

What are your distractions? How do you cope with them? How do you remain focused on what really matters? How do you find meaning in life and move forward on a straight path?

  • Submissions to be posted: March 1, 2023 – May 31, 2023
  • Deadline for submissions: May 31, 2023
  • Contest open to all writers worldwide
  • Ideal word count to be between 1,500 and 2,500
  • For submissions: CLICK TO SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY

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.
  • Submissions already published elsewhere are not accepted.


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?



When is the last day for submissions?

May 31, 2023


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.