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Chipotle essay contest for students lets winners get published -- on Chipotle cups

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Chipotle has already adorned its cups and bags with excerpts from notable authors like Neil Gaiman, Toni Morrison, and George Saunders, and now the fast food chain is opening up the space for authors not as well known. 

Throughout the month of May, writers between the ages of 13 and 18 can submit their original short essays (up to 1,700 words) “about a time when food created a memory” to not only be featured on the illustrious Chipotle packaging, but also win $20,000 toward a college fund. Ten grand prize winners will be selected.

The storytelling bags and cups are part of Chipotle’s Cultivating Thought project. Writer Jonathan Safran Foer—who also serves as curator for the Cultivating Thought series—will be a contest judge along with Laura Esquivel, the author and screenwriter of Like Water for Chocolate.

“The goal of the Cultivating Thought series has been to engage our customers’ intellect and perhaps offer a moment of literary reflection on stories written by authors with unique perspectives,” Mark Crumpacker, chief creative and development officer at Chipotle, said in a statement according to the LA Times. “Through the essay contest, we are offering young writers an opportunity to share their own perspective on a one-of-a-kind platform to express their writings about food, and a chance to receive a scholarship to help advance their education.”