Bechtel Prize


Deadline: December 1, 2017

Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T&W) seeks submissions for essays that explore creative writing and arts education, the theme of the imagination, and/or creative writing.

Submissions for the Bechtel Prize may include:

  • Explorations of critical issues in creative writing and arts education.
  • Literacy narratives, first-hand accounts about the process of writing or teaching writing.
  • Memoirs about how and why the author became a writer or early experiences with literature and the imagination.
  • Reflections on the writer’s life and how poets and writers stay connected to their imaginations.
  • Portraits of key teachers and mentors in the author’s life.

Tayari Jones will choose the winner of the 2018 Bechtel Prize. Jones is the author of the novels Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, Silver Sparrow, and An American Marriage (Algonquin Books, February 2018). Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship, and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Silver Sparrow was named a #1 Indie Next Pick by booksellers in 2011, and the National Endowment for the Arts added it to its Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is currently an associate professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University.

The essay selected to receive the Bechtel Prize will appear in Teachers & Writers Magazine and the author will receive a $1,000 honorarium. Honoraria totaling $500 are shared by the authors of entries selected as finalists for the prize, which may also be published in Teachers & Writers Magazine.

Selection criteria for the Bechtel Prize include the essay’s relevance and appropriateness for readers of Teachers & Writers Magazine, most of whom teach writing at the elementary, secondary, or postsecondary level. T&W welcomes submissions written in a poetic, lyric style; as well as personal narrative, reportage, and essays.

Prospective entrants for the Bechtel Prize are encouraged to visit the magazine to become familiar with the publication, and to read past winners of the award. The submission deadline for the 2018 Bechtel Prize is Friday, December 1, 2017. Please refer to the submission guidelines below for additional information.

2018 Bechtel Prize Submission Guidelines

  • Submissions must be previously unpublished and under 3,500 words in length.
  • Submissions must be typed, paginated, and double-spaced.
  • Submissions must be sent in Word or PDF format.
  • Submissions will be judged anonymously. The author’s name and address must not appear anywhere on the essay/article.
  • There is a $20 fee for each submission for the Bechtel Prize. Multiple entries are permitted.
  • Authors of the Bechtel Prize winner and finalists must permit T&W to publish their submissions in Teachers & Writers Magazine. T&W reserves the right to edit submissions for publication.
  • Submissions that do not conform to the above guidelines will not be reviewed for the Bechtel Prize.
  • Questions regarding these guidelines may be sent to

2018 Bechtel Prize Submission Process

There is a two-step process for submissions for the 2018 Bechtel Prize.

Step 1: Send the submission as a Word or PDF attachment to an email to, Ensure that the author’s name, e-mail address, and phone number are included in the e-mail message, but do not appear on the essay. If you wish to submit more than one essay, each submission should be sent as an attachment to a separate email message.

Step 2: Submit the $20 fee via PayPal to


The Bechtel Prize was endowed by The Cerimon Fund in honor of Louise Seaman Bechtel, the first person to head a juvenile book department at a US publishing house. To make a contribution to support the Bechtel Prize or Teachers & Writers Magazine, please contact T&W Executive Director Amy Swauger at 212-691-6590 extension 1001,


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