frederick buechner prize

Congratulations to Misty Kiwak Jacobs, whose essay “BLACKBERRIES” was selected by Christian Wiman for the 2022 Frederick Buechner Prize!

Excerpt: “I sit, bereft, before the black-eyed chaplain. The charnel house is not an aberration, she says, but life. Truth. What is so frightening at the edges, in the shadow of the roiling and brutality, she says as she brings her hands together, diminishes as you move into it. If you are Episcopalian, you think, No thank you. You think, Cuckoo bananas. If you are a former Catholic you think, She must be a witch.”

Read the rest of the essay in Issue 13: BLACKBERRIES

About the Author: Misty Kiwak Jacobs is a native of Arizona living in Upstate New York. She studied Russian and Writing at Sarah Lawrence College and earned her MDiv and Diploma in Anglican Studies at Yale Divinity School & Berkeley Divinity School in 2020.

Misty is still at YDS, working on an STM in Homiletics. Her writing has appeared in The Sarah Lawrence Review, The Red Rock Review, Earth and Altar, Minerva Rising and the Yale Divinity School Letters Journal, among others. She is a postulant for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts. You can follow her at

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 is announced annually during the Spring term. 

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 Essays should be unpublished at the time of submission.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.

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