Arts and Entertainment

Pa. Center for the Book announces 2020 Wordstruck Micro Essay inaugural winner

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, sponsored by Penn State University Libraries, has announced the 2020 winners of the inaugural Wordstruck: Micro Essays on Literature that Redefined You. Wordstruck is an essay contest for Pennsylvania students in grades 10 to 12 that invites participants to describe how a self-selected piece of literature redefined their behavior, attitude, world view, and/or personal perspective.

This year’s winner is 12th-grader Madeline Wray of Newtown, Pennsylvania, who is being awarded $250 for her essay "Beautifully Mundane" about the poem "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" by Christopher Marlowe.

Also being recognized are honorees: 12th-grader Angela Shen of Newtown, Pennsylvania, who will be awarded $150 for her second-place essay, "The Sound of Skates on Ice," about the novel "Beartown" by Fredrik Backman; and 12th-grader India Krug of Indiana, Pennsylvania, who will be awarded $100 for her third-place essay, "The Moment When Female Empowerment Hit Me Upside the Head," about "Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches" by Audre Lorde.

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book’s 2020 Wordstruck contest judges included Linda Oatman High, author of books for children and teens, journalist and playwright, Narvon, Pennsylvania; Theresa M. Hoover, assistant professor of education, Wilson College, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; Pat Hughes, author of books for children and young adults, Narberth, Pennsylvania; Marjorie Maddox Hafer, poet, author, and professor of english and creative writing, Lock Haven University, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania; and Emily R. Aguilo-Perez, assistant professor of english – children's literature, West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania. 

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, encourages Pennsylvania’s citizens and residents to study, honor, celebrate and promote books, reading, libraries and literacy. In addition to Wordstruck, it also administers the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize; Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award; Public Poetry Project; A Baker’s Dozen: The Best Children’s Books for Family Literacy; Poems from Life; Words of Art; and the interactive Literary & Cultural Heritage Maps of Pennsylvania.

For more information about the Wordstruck contest, visit the Wordstruck: Micro Essays on Literature that Redefined You page of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book website, or contact Nicole Miyashiro, editor at

Last Updated July 13, 2020