Mythical, Magical, Fantastical Beings: Essay and Art Contest

The Academy at HBU invites any Houston-area student in sixth through ninth grades to submit an original essay OR an original art piece addressing mythical, magical, or otherwise fantastical creatures in literature or history.  

In the foreword to his fantastic anthology, The Book of Imaginary Beings, Jorge Luis Borges writes, “We do not know what the dragon means, just as we do not know the meaning of the universe, but there is something in the image of the dragon that is congenial to man’s imagination, and thus the dragon arises in many latitudes and ages.” From dragons to centaurs, unicorns to trolls, strange imaginary creatures have long fascinated fiction and poetry writers, literary scholars, historians, philosophers, psychologists, theologians, filmmakers, and artists. These creatures’ inhumanity often has something to tell us about our own humanity. 

Topics could include (but are not limited to): 

  • Source studies for common mythical creatures 
  • Comparative studies of mythical creatures in works by two or more authors 
  • Themes of humanity/inhumanity, natural/unnatural/supernatural, self/other, virtue/vice, mundane/magical/spiritual 
  • Beast fables/folklore 
  • Magical realism 
  • Cyberfiction 
  • Literary theory of the fantastic 
  • Fantastical creatures in the works of Dante, Edgar Allan Poe, Hans Christian Anderson, the Brothers Grimm, Charles Dickens, George MacDonald, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Madeline L’Engle, Ursula Le GuinJ.K. Rowling, and others 

Students are eligible to submit as many essay and artwork entries as they would like.

 The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2020. 

Grand Prize for each category (essay and art) is $150  

Plus: additional essay and art prizes, including grade-level specific prizes, AND an invitation for contest participants and their families to attend an Awards Ceremony featuring a short lecture by Dr. David Grubbs, Assistant Professor in English at HBU.

Essay guidelines and submission details can be found here.

Art guidelines and submission details can be found here

© 2020 The Academy at HBU