Dollhouse Essay Contest Winners

By April 1st, 2010

First, let me say, thank you all for making this essay contest such a great experience. As I mentioned before, we received a ton of great entries, which made the choices hard in the very best way. I continue to be grateful I wasn’t the one to have to make them.

Or, in our judge Jane Espenson’s much more articulate words:

I just wanted to let you know that I found the entries in this contest to be extremely illuminating and heart-warming. I’m delighted that so many people were willing to devote so much time and effort to exploring the deeper aspects of the show. There were so many sharp insights that it was very hard picking out the best four. All of the entries demonstrated careful thought and hard work, but these four–particularly the winning entry–shone especially brightly. Well done!

The winners (who will be hearing from me via email shortly):

Grand prize
Kate Rennebohm

First prizes
Rebecca Levinger
Christopher Souza
Peter Tupper

Other winners
Zalina Alvi
Tami Anderson
Lillian DeRitter
Valerie Frankel
Julie Hawk
Andrew Zimmerman Jones
Ian G. Klein
Johnathan Mason
Oluwafemi Morohunfola
Kristin Noone
Susan Quilty
Luciana Hiromi Yamada da Silveira
Martin Shuster
Kirsten Strayer

You’ll be able to read their essays this fall in our Dollhouse collection, Inside Joss’ Dollhouse:

In the meantime, we wanted to make sure everyone else had a chance to share their essays. If you entered and didn’t win–or even weren’t able to enter because you didn’t finish on time–we want to invite you to comment on this post with your essay’s title and a link to your essay, which you’re now free to┬ápost elsewhere online. (We’ll do a post at the end of next week collecting all the links for easy reading!)

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No Comments On "Dollhouse Essay Contest Winners"

  1. Chris

    Thank you, Ms Espenson (may I call you Jane?), Leah, and everyone else at SmartPop books. It is such an honor to be chosen, and to have my work appreciated by one of my favorite television writers. This is the first piece of work I have ever gotten published, and I am so grateful for this opportunity. I can’t wait to read everyone else’s thoughts. Thanks also to Joss Whedon, Eliza Dushku, and everyone else at Mutant Enemy for providing such great material for us to analyze and appreciate.


  2. Kumar

    Congrats to everyone who won! :)

    This book is going to be awesome; I can feel it!


  3. Andrew Zimmerman Jones

    Wow, great to see that I got a spot in this anthology, especially given that my theme (Topher) appears to have been quite popular. I can’t wait to see the completed collection and what everyone else came up with! Thanks a lot!


  4. Susan Quilty

    Thank you, Jane Espenson and everyone at Smart Pop Books! I am beyond thrilled and extremely honored to have my essay chosen. The idea of Jane Espenson, a writer I greatly admire, reading my essay was exciting in itself. The fact that she enjoyed it and chose to publish it is a dream come true! I cannot wait to read the book and see what others had to say about this wonderful show. Thank you again and again!


  5. Tami Anderson

    Thank you all so very much! I’m extremely honored (and slightly in shock). I also can’t wait to read all the other essays. So very exciting. Thank you again.


  6. Zalina Alvi

    I must also admit that just the idea of Jane Espenson reading my essay is reward enough, but beyond that I’m so thrilled and honoured to be included in this anthology. Thanks for providing this great opportunity! Now to wait in tense anticipation until October…


    • Zalina Alvi

      Just to confirm, this is NOT an April Fool’s joke, yes?


      • Leah

        Definitely not an April Fool’s joke! (Bad timing, I know.)

  7. Lillian DeRitter

    I agree with Zalina, we’re sure this isn’t an April Fool’s joke?

    Words cannot describe how honored and excited I am to be included. Thank you to Smart Pop and Jane Espenson for being so brave as to solicit for an anthology from the fans. I can only hope that we’re worthy of the trust you put in us. To borrow from Joss, the only thing that could make this better is rocket launchers!


  8. Ian Klein

    Many thanks to Jane Espenson, Leah and the Smart Pop Books team for making this happen! Every time Jane posted to her Twitter that it was an “essay reading day” my heart skipped a beat. I appreciate the time and effort that everyone put into this contest and I feel humbled and thrilled to be a part of this collection of work on this beloved show. I’m so grateful. I can’t wait to read what the other contributors have to say!


    • Dale

      YAY!! Many congratulations!! There will be much shaking of hands and me saying, mock modestly, “Why, yes, I know him” at Slayage this June. You WILL be there, right?


  9. Jocelyn

    Hey folk. Looks like my essay wasn’t chosen, but as the website suggested, I posted it for all to see, should that be your fancy:


  10. Jocelyn
  11. Peter Tupper

    Wow! I’m pleased and honored, and I’m sure my essay will be in good company. I’m looking forward to seeing what everybody else wrote. I like to thing that “Dollhouse” will be appreciated more in hindsight.


  12. Rich Steeves

    A non-winning entry


  13. David Mello

    I decided to compare Dollhouse with Toy Story, based on Mattel’s decision not to let Barbie rescue Woody and Buzz at the end of the movie…which was Joss’ idea.
    Profound, or too ridiculous?
    See for yourself at


  14. Becca Levinger

    Thank you so so much! I’m so honored to be one of the winners. I can’t wait to read everyone else’s essay as well!


  15. angela tung

    congrats to the winners, and thanks to smart pop books for the opportunity! hope there will be more contests like this in the future.

    here’s my essay, “dollhouse inc.”:


  16. Kate Rennebohm

    Well, it’s been a day, and I’m still reeling from the news! I’m so incredibly happy to have a spot in this book, and cannot wait to read everyone’s essays. I just want to thank Smart Pop books so much for holding this great contest, and giving us all such a great opportunity. They deserve big thanks as well for giving us fans another way to enjoy Dollhouse!


  17. Rose M. Rose

    Congrats to all the winners and to Jane Espenson and Smart Pop Books for the opportunity to write an essay on one of the most unique and underappreciated shows on tv. My essay wasn’t chosen, but if you’d like you can read it here:


  18. Janet Blumberg

    Congratulations to all the winners. I can’t wait and enjoy to read this collection.

    I was planning to rework my plea to give Dollhouse a second season into an essay submission; it compares Joss to another popular genre-dramatist (named William Shakespeare) and comparing Joss’s Dollhouse to his Measure For Measure. Other writing deadlines intervened, but if anyone is interested, the original is here:

    I’ve also blogged on Dollhouse at my lit theory blog and have links there to very good set of posts on Dollhouse episodes written by “Jane” over at her blog. ( Just in case anyone is interested in what a retired Renaissance English prof has to say…or what Jane, an archetypal myth critic, has seen in some of the episodes.)


  19. Janet Blumberg

    Good grief, sorry for all the mistypes above — a little too much of the red wine tonight I think. : )


    • Leah

      Happens to the best of us. :)


  20. William Welton

    Congratulations to all the winners! Although my essay wasn’t chosen, it was fun to have the opportunity to write about my favorite show, and I am gratified that Jane Espenson read my essay even though it wasn’t picked. Thanks for suggesting that the rest of us post our essays online anyway; mine is at


  21. Jody

    Here is my essay link:

    I hope you are still collecting them and this is the right place to send it.



    • Leah

      Definitely the right place, and we’ll be pulling a new blog post with all the links together soon!


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