High School Intelligentsia Receive the First Xen Literary Essay Scholarships

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Avar Press is delighted to announce the winners of the first annual Xen Literary Essay Scholarships. The analyses of D. J. Solomon’s “Xen” were so outstanding, six awards have been made rather than three. American teens have proven their mettle, undaunted by the complexity of “Xen,” a novel “from the future” that explores xenophobia and explains how a future Utopia came to exist on Earth. Because of the overwhelming response, the scholarships are being extended this coming year to Canadians and a separate set of awards is now being offered for college students.

Superlative entries have forced the editorial board of Avar Press to award six scholarships to students and their high schools instead of the three announced last November. These high school intelligentsia have set a high standard with their imaginative and insightful analyses of Xen. They “got it,” understanding the universal call for individual introspection and action toward dealing with society’s quagmire of racism, sexism, religious intolerance, animal cruelty, propaganda, consumerism, torture & war.

First place and $500.00 went to Kate Burgers, Shawnee Mission East High School, Shawnee Mission, KS; tied second place awards and $250 each went to Summer Li, Mercy High School, San Francisco and Teresa Ristow, South Fork High School, Miranda, CA; three third place ties and $100 each were awarded to Casey Archer, Princess Anne High School, Virginia Beach, VA, Erin Nemeth, North Royalton High School, North Royalton, OH, and Nichole Norling, homeschooler, St. Louis, MI. Matching cash awards, also unrestricted, were made to the sponsoring high schools. Publication of all winning essays has been made on the Xen website, http://www.xenbook.com.

Avar Press is pleased to offer outstanding students further opportunities for cash awards and publication of their work. The Xen scholarships are an addition to model competitions like the Signet Classics, discussing Gulliver’s Travels next year, and the annual Ayn Rand Essay Contests, which have been analyzing her treatises for years. Unconcerned with the dearth of contemporary wisdom, last year’s Xen entrants discussed the power of the second person point of view for drawing the reader in and retooling their thinking toward different vantage points, the lexical mastery of the novel for future SAT examinees, the meaning of the characters’ names, the contrast of Xen’s Utopia with previous dystopian literature, the almost constant contradictions that are inevitable as terms are understood only in perspective, motifs and symbolism, and even a comparison of the central character, Pawkey Seneschal, to Jesus Christ!

The Xen HS Scholarships will be open to Canadians next year. A separate set of awards is also being offered to US and Canadian college students. Deadlines for entry are January 31, 2007 for college students and May 15, 2007 for high school juniors and seniors. The competition is free. Over $5000 has been awarded or pledged through next spring. Complete details can be obtained from the Avar Press website, including applications.

About the author:

D.J. Solomon is a Stanford M.D., Brandeis Phi Beta Kappa, and Westinghouse Science Talent Search Scholarship winner. He has a private practice in rural North Carolina. “Xen" is his first novel, second book, the first published in 1979 by W.B. Saunders, when he was 25. He lives with two dogs and has three children. He has several works in

various stages of development, both fiction & non-fiction.

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Melissa Kaufman
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