The Nation launched an annual Student Writing Contest to identify, support and reward the numerous smart, progressive student journalists writing, reporting and blogging today.

This year, we’re asking students to answer this question: It’s clear that the political system in the United States isn’t working for many young people. What do you think is the central issue for your generation in Election 2016?

Essays should not exceed 800 words and should demonstrate fresh, clear thinking and superior quality of expression and craftsmanship. We’ll select ten finalists and two winners total—six from college students, six from those in high school. Each winner will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize and a lifetime Nation subscription. The five finalists will be awarded $250 each and subscriptions. The winning essays will be published in The Nation magazine and at The ten finalists will be featured at

Entries will be accepted through Monday, September 19, 2016 at 11:59pm pacific standard time. Winners will be announced on Monday, October 31.

The contest is open to all matriculating high school students and undergraduates at US schools, colleges and universities as well as those receiving high school or college degrees in 2016. Submissions must be original, unpublished work. Each entrant is limited to one submission. Past and present Nation interns are ineligible as are family members of Nation staff.

Submissions and questions can be e-mailed to [email protected]. Please include the essay in the body of the e-mail. All e-mailed submissions will be acknowledged. Each entry must include author’s name, address, phone number, e-mail and short biography and school affiliation—and say “student essay” in the subject line.

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