Are books dead? Three staffers pen winning replies
Fabilli and Hoffer contest first-place essay challenges readers with wry wit



Editor Zack Rogow won this year's Fabilli-Hoffer laconic essay contest with his ruminations on the death of books.
Jeff Wason photo

14 March 2001 | Zack Rogow, an editor at the Graduate School of Education and a published poet, has won this year’s $1,000 Lili Fabilli and Eric Hoffer Essay Prize contest for his wry response to the theme, “Are Books Dead?”

A two-time winner of the award, Rogow, along with four second-place winners, will receive a cash prize from the staff, faculty and student contest for their essays of 500 words or less. Runners-up receiving $800 each were Cassie Dunn, an editor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences; Pat Soberanis, a web manager in the Department of Psychology; and students Zachary Gordon and Ken Chen.

“I was surprised to see my name on the list of winners for the award, and even more shocked when I found out how much the prize was,” Dunn said.

“It was a wonderful surprise,” added Soberanis. “It is especially meaningful and encouraging because this is the first public recognition of my creative nonfiction writing.”

The entries, 18 in all, made Anne Repp’s second week on the job interesting. As coordinator of the Committee on Prizes, she savored each essay as it crossed her desk. “Reading these wonderful essays during my first few days on campus made me think, ‘I’m really going to like this job,’” she said.

The award is given each year through a special fund set up in 1970 by philosopher Eric Hoffer, who believed that every idea could be expressed in less than 200 words. Contestants are given 300 extra words to meet his challenge.


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