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Late every summer, Real Simple closes the deadline on its annual Life Lessons Essay Contest, which allows writers from all walks of life to submit an essay written on the topic designated by the magazine. In the fourth annual contest, writers were asked to answer the question: “When did you first understand the meaning of love?” Thousands of entries are received by the publication, with only one entrant declared the official winner. That winner was Mara Eve Robbins.

About the Contest
Mara and her fellow entrants were asked to write a maximum of 1,500 words on double-spaced, typed pages and submit them by the deadline directly to an address provided at Real Simple. All essays must be nonfiction (true stories) and submitted by legal US residents, age 19 and older.

The winner, or in this case, Mara, received a $3,000 cash prize, had her essay published in the April 2012 issue of Real Simple, and was provided with two tickets to New York City with a two-night hotel stay, Broadway tickets, and a lunch with Real Simple editors. The potential, as any writer understands, goes beyond winning this contest, hopefully opening many other doors to contributing writer positions and more.

Mara’s Entry
Mara’s essay, “Someone to Hold Onto,” is an amazing glimpse into her life as a suddenly-single, young mother of a preschooler, learning to live and experience love following a tragic and devastating loss. The full essay can be read here.

We’d like to extend our deepest congratulations to Mara on an amazing essay. If you’d like more information on future essay contests from Real Simple, visit here.

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