Silicon Valley Reads Essay Contest Returns to Cupertino Library

Contest returning for fourth straight year, will include essays for two books selected by Cupertino Library Book Club.

The Cupertino Library and the Cupertino Library Foundation is gearing up for its fourth annual Silicon Valley Reads essay contest for Cupertino adults and high school teens, and is asking for an essay from one of two books from its 2012 Silicon Valley Reads program, The Muslim Next Door by Sumbul Ali-Karamali and The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson.

The deadline for the free contest is Feb. 15 before midnight, with the grand prize of $500 going to one adult and teen each for the best essay and $300 going to second place finishers.

Cupertino Community Librarian Mark Fink said the contest has become a popular event with well-known books in Cupertino and the contest prizes should draw a lot of participants.

“The Silicon Valley Reads program has really caught on in Cupertino,” Fink said. “The selections are read by our Library Book Club, and our cash prizes are an incentive for the essay contestants.”

According to the organization's Web site, the Silicon Valley Reads program started in 2002 to get all library communities and foundations within Santa Clara County to read and discuss the same books, and is sponsored by the Santa Clara County Library Department, the Santa Clara County Office of Education and the San Jose Public Library Foundation.

According to the Library Foundation’s President Eno Schmidt, both authors of the two featured books will be at the Cupertino Library on March 3 to each speak on their work, and the contest is a great way to celebrate them.

“We are fortunate to have an expanded opportunity to meet both of this year’s authors, have books signed and celebrate community through this opportunity.”

The Library Foundation expects over 50 people to participate in the contest this year, as the organization saw over three dozen adults and two dozen teens participate last year, with many from the Library Book Club, according to Libary Foundation's Development and Marketing Chair Beverly Lenihan.

Lenihan, who is the immediate past-president of the Cupertino Rotary Club, said the contest is a great way for members of the Cupertino community to express their views and ideas through writing.

"We have quite a diverse community in Cupertino, for some, English is not a primary language," Lenihan said. "This contest gives them a chance to read a book in a language they are learning and then to turn around and express their ideas in English."

Lenihan, as a judge from last year's contest, said she was impressed by the quality of writing and  she saw from teen participants, some of whom are aspiring writers and authors.

Complete information for the contest can be found at http://cupertinolibrary.org/campaign/index.html , winners will be notified by February 28.


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