Dr. William Bradley was passionate about creative writing and was an advocate for female writers. After his passing last August, William’s friends and creative writer colleagues came together to establish a writing contest in his memory.
The William Bradley Prize for the Essay is an annual writing contest for creative non-fiction with the winning essay to be published in The Normal School, a literary magazine out of Cal State-Fresno.
The Normal School was special to William, who was a contributor to its first issue a decade ago and a regular contributor in the years that followed.
According to William’s wife, Dr. Emily Isaacson, director of the Honors Program, the proceeds from the prize (a minimal entry fee) will be given to Heidelberg’s English Department to bring accomplished writers to campus to interact with students. The winning essay also will be published in The Normal School’s fall issue annually and the author will receive a $250 prize.
The William Bradley Prize is financially supported by an anonymous group of women writers known as The Maiden Aunts of Literature, who graciously stepped in to support Emily when William became ill in November 2016. Several of the Maiden Aunts will serve as judges and Emily will be the final judge in the inaugural year of the contest.
Creation of the award was “a little overwhelming” for Emily, but also heartwarming. “This speaks to how much people appreciated William and how he promoted other writers, especially women writers,” she says. “I think this is a really, really important thing to do to build up the (writing) community.”
On Feb. 15-16, Heidelberg will benefit from the contest for the first time when the English Department hosts David Griffith, arts educator and creative writer at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. David, who William knew through the writing community, is vice president and Emily & Richard Smucker Chair for Education at Chautauqua and the director of creative writing for the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. There will be a public reading at 7 p.m. on the 15th.
Entries for the inaugural William Bradley Prize for the Essay are now open with a deadline of March 15. Any creative writer is welcome to submit an entry here.