The Bechtel Prize is named for Louise Seaman Bechtel, who was an editor, author, collector of children’s books, and teacher. In 1919, Bechtel became the first person to lead a juvenile book department at an American publishing house. Bechtel helped establish the field of children’s literature and was a tireless advocate for the importance of literature in children’s lives. This award honors her legacy.
2023 Bechtel Prize
for Innovation in Creative Writing Instruction
T&W is now accepting submissions of essays describing a creative writing teaching experience, project, or activity that demonstrates innovation in creative writing instruction. We are looking for essays that describe a project or activity that got students excited about writing and fostered a vibrant and dynamic culture of literacy in the classroom. We welcome essays about projects that carved a space for students to reflect on the events of the past year (eg. public health, remote learning, social justice, etc.). The experience/project/activity should be one that:
- helped students identify as writers
- opened new pathways to creative writing
- engaged students in all parts of the writing process
- promoted connections between reading and writing
- supported the publication of student writing
The essay itself should:
- Share actual classroom experience, including how students engaged with the project (in other words, this should not be a planned project but one that has already taken place).
- Focus on the classroom experience and what makes it innovative.
- Focus on teaching creative writing (eg. poetry, fiction, playwriting). Please do not send essays that have to do with teaching academic writing or teaching literature in general.
The essay selected to receive the Bechtel Prize will be published in Teachers & Writers Magazine, and the author will receive a $1,000 award.
The extended submission deadline is February 10, 2023.
General Selection Criteria
Selection criteria for the Bechtel Prize include the project’s relevance and appropriateness for readers of Teachers & Writers Magazine, most of whom teach writing at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary level. Teachers & Writers Magazine publishes work that is concise, lively, and geared to a general audience. Prospective entrants for the Bechtel Prize are encouraged to visit the magazine to become familiar with the work of Teachers & Writers and to read past published lesson plans and articles. The prize selection committee is made up of members of the editorial board of Teachers & Writers Magazine.
Previous Bechtel Prize Winners
Shilpi Suneja, Multilingual Approaches Toward English Prose
Paola Capó-García, Making Sense of It All: Highschool Poetry in the Age of Zoom
Amy Young, Jibseria: A Garden Mythology
Emily James, At First the Ground Shakes
Julie Landsman, Words, Images and Music: How We Enter
Christian McEwen, Alastair Reed: Traveling Light
Chris Belden, Inside Words: How to Teach Writing in Prison
Barbara Flug Colin, Now Let’s Stare at the Purple
Janet L. Bland, The Possum
Garth Greenwell, A Native Music: Writing the City in Sofia, Bulgaria
Emily Raboteau, A Slip Into the Breaks: Teaching Jazz Poetry
Michael Bazzett, Within Words: Making Students at Home in the Language of Literature
Anna Sopko, Writing Standards: Finding One’s Way with Words