The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

Superhero essay competition: tell us your favorite superpower

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For the many talented poets and writers that visit my blog, the Oxford University Press is holding an essay competition:

Sharpen your claws… er, pencils…

It’s the summer of the superhero here at Oxford University Press. We’re publishing two essay collections on the real powers superheroes hold — on our imagination and our understanding of the world. Our Superheroes, Ourselves, edited by Robin S. Rosenberg, PhD, and What is a Superhero?, edited by Robin S. Rosenberg, PhD and Peter Coogan, PhD, look at some of our greatest superheroes (and supervillains) and explore what exactly makes them “super”. We immediately think of the superhuman powers that our heroes use to save the day. But then again, superpowers can be used for good or evil…

What do you want for your superpower and why? Just as the powers and abilities of Batman and Superman reveal their personal history, your choice reveals a great deal about yourself. So in the spirit of revealing the truth about our superheroes — and ourselves — we are holding an essay contest to find out exactly what you’re made of. Simply follow the guidelines below on submitting your essay and you could be wearing Oxford lycra before you know it (wearing Oxford lyrca = holding an Oxford book). Entries will be judged by Oxford University Press superhero staff experts (costumes optional; secret identities to be protected and all).

Submission guidelines:

    • One entry per person. If multiple entries are submitted, only the first will be considered and you will incur the wrath of your greatest nemesis.
    • Entries must be no longer than 500 words. Longer entries will be zapped or kapowed.
    • Email your submission to blog[at]oup[dot]com by midnight US Eastern time on 14 July 2013. Entries received after that time will not be considered and swallowed by a time vortex.
    • Subject must read “OUP Superhero essay contest-(title)” (e.g., OUP Superhero essay contest-Power of Flight)
    • Body of the email must include the title of the essay and your full name and contact information (street address, email, phone)
    • The essay must be included in an attached document that does not include your name to facilitate blind judging. Title of the attachment must be the title of your essay.
    • Be clear about whether the superpower is for good or evil, or the interpretation will be at the mercy of the judges.

What the judges are looking for?

    • Proper grammar, spelling, and style. Never forget the Oxford comma!
    • The craftsmanship of a hero who has come on a long journey to fully realize their powers.
    • Imaginative detail and creativity in your writing utility belt.
    • What the entry reveals about the everyday hero behind the mask.

What will you win?

    • The winning essay(s) will be published on the OUPblog on 19 July 2013.
  • We reserve the right not to award a prize if we feel the submissions do not meet our criteria.

Go now, Braniacs, Black Widows, and Batmen, and use your creative powers to submit a piece! The fate of the world depends on it.


Robin S. Rosenberg is a clinical psychologist. In addition to running a private practice, she writes about superheroes and the psychological phenomena their stories reveal. She is editor of Psychology of Superheroes, Our Superheroes, Ourselves, and What is a Superhero?.

Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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