About the Prize
The Essay Prize was founded in 2006 in response to literary awards that champion subject matter in nonfiction, rather than art.
Given each year to the work that best exemplifies the art of essaying—inquiry, experimentation, discovery, and change—the Essay Prize emphasizes the activity of a text, rather than its status as a dispensary of information.
Open to projects in any genre, medium, or form—be it text, film, radio, performance, or other—the Essay Prize intentionally stretches the definition of "essaying" in order to celebrate work that is defined by what it does—the activity that it engages in—rather than what it is.
Nominations for the Prize are made each year by an ever-changing committee of twelve to fifteen writers, filmmakers, radio producers, visual artists, critics, editors, and readers. Each of them selects one essay from the previous year that they most enjoyed and admired, submitting it with a brief paragraph of support. Nominators remain anonymous until the winner of the Prize is announced.
|For more information about this year's nominees for the Essay Prize click here.|
|You can also view the nominees from previous years here.|
Those nominated essays then become the primary texts in a semester-long graduate writing seminar that's taught at one of a number of American universities. After a series of papers, presentations, and discussions about the essays, the graduate students in the seminar choose the winner of the Prize.
|Winners of the Essay Prize receive a handmade walnut letter box inscribed with their name and the title of their winning essay. For more information about the Essay Prize box click here.|