William Bradley Prize for the Essay

There are presently no open calls for submissions.


The William Bradley Prize for the Essay is dedicated to the memory of essayist and scholar, William Bradley and intended to honor his legacy and his commitment to the essay form--its literary history, dynamic present, and promising future. In addition to being a nonfiction scholar, William wrote essays about academic life, pop culture, family, and illness; and with particular heart and grace about his own long-term battles with cancer. He was a passionate advocate for social justice, a caring friend to many writers, and supporter of disenfranchised populations. 

The Normal School: a Literary Magazine, for which William was a regular contributor over the years, is proud to publish the winning essay each year in their fall issue. 

The William Bradley Prize for the Essay is generously supported financially by an anonymous group of writers known as The Maiden Aunts of Literature. 

The entry fee is $5 and the Winning Essay will receive a $250 honorarium. All proceeds from the contest will go to support the William Bradley Reading Series at Hiedelberg University, founded by William's wife and collaborator, Emily Issacson. Emily has graciously agreed to serve as the Inaugural Judge of the 2018 Prize. 

Advisory Board: Steven Church, Christian Exoo, Dave Griffith, Ned Stuckey-French, Emily Isaacson, Michael Kardos, Sandra Lambert, Dinty W. Moore, Michael Piafsky, Natalia Rachel Singer, Maureen Stanton, and Jill Talbot.



William Bradley Prize for the Essay