frederick buechner prize

Congratulations to Mary Barnett, whose essay “Be Thou My Vision Therapist” was selected by Christian Wiman for the 2016 Frederick Buechner Prize!

Excerpt: “We see what we expect to see, until we don’t. We can call the eye doctor (we aren’t seeing things) set up a consult with a psychiatrist (we are seeing things) or try to convince a religious professional, a time-travelling medieval saint or maybe that wild-eyed guy on the street corner, that we’ve had an actual vision. They will all agree at least on this: nobody is seeing exactly what everyone else is seeing.”

Read the rest of the essay here: “Be Thou My Vision Therapist”

About the Author: Mary Barnett is a choreographer and dancer who gradually became more interested in moving words around on a page than in telling dancers what to do.  Her choreography has been performed at Jacob’s Pillow Inside Out Festival, the DIA Art Center, the Cunningham Studio, DTW and the Vineyard Theater in NYC and throughout New England. She established In Good Company and curated a quarterly performance series called Dancing Out Loud in New Haven for 15 years. Currently, she is a student at Yale Divinity School and in the ordination process for the priesthood in the Episcopal Church in CT. Her different interests are inspired by the same impulse: to make space, what is invisible, come alive and give testimony. Her work has been published in Tin House, Commonweal, Christian Century and now Letters. She lives in Branford, CT with her husband, three perfect children and two difficult cats.





About the Frederick Buechner Prize

All current students of YDS, Berkeley, and the Institute of Sacred Music are invited to submit essays and compete for the Frederick Buechner Prize for creative nonfiction. The winner, to be selected by a panel of professors, will receive a $1,000 prize and have his or her essay published in Letters.

The deadline for submissions for the Spring 2018 prize is March 26, 2018.

The prize is named in honor of the writer and theologian Frederick Buechner, who, among his numerous honors, gave the Beecher Lectures at YDS in the 1976-77 academic year. The Buechner Prize was established thanks to a gift to YDS from the Frederick Buechner Institute.

Essays should be between 1,500 and 5,000 words and contain a religious theme or element. Essays should be unpublished at the time of submission. (An essay that has been accepted for publication at a later date is eligible.) Each student is allowed to submit a single essay. Entries must be turned in to Jacqueline Campoli in the Institute of Sacred Music office-hard copies preferred. Students may contact Jacqueline for more information.

The winner will be announced at Commencement if that winner is graduating, or at the fall awards ceremony next year if she or he is a continuing student.

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