Department of English and Philosophy


Teaching Literature Book Award

The Teaching Literature Book Award seeks to encourage and recognize excellence in research on teaching literature by honoring a book-length work on teaching literature at the post-secondary or graduate level. This international, juried prize is conferred biennially by the faculty in the ISU PhD program in English and the Teaching of English. Nominations for the second biennial 2017 competition are due by March 15, 2017.


Any book-length work that deals with the theory and practice of teaching literature is eligible, including a monograph, a collaboratively authored work, an edited collection, or a special issue of a journal. The prize committee defines “literature” broadly and invites submissions dealing with the teaching of poetry, short stories, and novels, as well as allied arts, such as drama, film, creative nonfiction, or graphic novels. The committee especially encourages submissions that offer strategies to improve the recruitment, retention, and success of students from populations that have been historically underserved in undergraduate or graduate programs in English.

The primary language of the book must be English, even if the book deals with literature written in languages other than English. Books by ISU faculty members are not eligible for the award; however, if a faculty member is a contributor to an edited collection, the book may still be considered. Reference works, criticism, memoirs, books on composition (unless there is extensive application to literary studies) are not eligible.

Eligible works include anything published in a first or substantially revised edition in the two calendar years previous to the call. For the 2017 competition, eligible works will have been published in 2015 or 2016.


The goal of this award is to bring recognition to scholars publishing on the teaching of literature at the collegiate level. The prize committee seeks to reward books that excel in blending literary theory or interpretation with curricular planning and classroom methods. Prize-winning books could take many different forms. For instance, books might propose a single, coherent approach to teaching a particular subject, work, or field; present different points of view on teaching a work or subject; review and analyze historical or current methods; or argue for particular curricula or methods in English studies. Whatever the form, books will be evaluated for their cogency in making a case for an approach or approaches to teaching.

Book Award Committee

The prize is judged by a five-member panel, consisting of a member of the ISU English Graduate Committee, who will chair the committee, as well as one other member of the ISU English Graduate Faculty. Other members will include the previous award winner, as well as two external jurors appointed from faculty outside ISU. In cases where the previous award winner is unable to serve, another external juror will be chosen.

The 2015 committee:

Tanya Agathocleous, Associate Professor of English, Hunter College, CUNY
Jennifer Holberg, Professor of English, Calvin College
Steven Lynn, Professor of English, University of South Carolina
Curt Whitaker, Professor of English, Idaho State University
Jessica Winston, Professor of English and Book Award Committee Chair, Idaho State University

The 2017 committee will be announced in Fall 2016.


The winner of the prize will receive a certificate and a cash prize of $1,000. In addition, the winner will be invited to give a talk at ISU and asked to serve on the prize committee for the following competition.

In cases where there are multiple winners (as in a collaboratively authored or edited book), the cash prize, the invited talk, and further committee service may be divided among them. In addition to notifying the winner, the committee will also notify the publisher of the winning volume, and the prize winner will be announced through relevant list-serves, blogs, and journals.

Where merited, the Awards Committee may consider naming also a runner-up and a short-list.

Nomination Guidelines

Nominations for the award may be made by anyone, and self-nominations are accepted. Nominations are due by March 15th of odd-numbered years, and should be sent to the Director of Graduate Studies in English at Idaho State University.

To nominate a book, please include five hard copies of the book with the letter of nomination. Letters of nomination should include a brief description of the book, a brief explanation of why it merits the award, and full contact information for the author(s): name, title, mailing and email addresses, and phone number.


For a list of winners please click here: Teaching Literature Book Award Winners

  • Fall (even year): The Graduate Committee appoints two faculty members to serve on the Awards Committee. The Awards Committee invites jurors to serve.
  • January: Calls for nominations disseminated.
  • March 15: Nominations deadline.
  • April 1: Nominations acknowledged and review process begins.
  • September 1: Notification and announcement of prize winner.
  • Fall (odd year) or Spring (even year): Winner visits ISU.
About the PhD Program in English and The Teaching of English

The PhD in English and the Teaching of English is a distinctive program that combines training in British and American literatures with theoretical and practical work in teaching literature and composition. The primary aim of the degree is to train graduates for teaching careers at both two- and four-year schools. The degree is designed to respond to a need among two- and four-year colleges for knowledgeable, skilled faculty members who can teach a wide variety of classes in composition and literature.

Along with the Ph.D. in English and the Teaching of English, the Department of English and Philosophy offers an M.A. and a TESOL Certificate. The Department has an established tradition of graduate training, having offered the M.A. in English since 1960 and doctoral degrees since 1971. Our programs stand out from others in the region and nation for their distinctive combination of broad literary training with pedagogical theory and practice. For more information about our graduate programs, please click here.

Financial Support and Fundraising

This award program is made possible by the generous support of the ISU Department of English and Philosophy, the ISU College of Arts and Letters, and the ISU Graduate School, as well as private donations from faculty members and staff.

The Department of English and Philosophy has commissioned an endowment fund for this book award. Anyone interested in contributing to this fund should follow this link. Please note that donations should be made out to Idaho State University, and specifically noted as gifts for the “Collegiate Literature Book Award Endowment.”

Contributors can also contact the Director of Graduate Studies in English, or donations can be sent to:

Heidi Jarvis Grimes
Director of Development, College of Arts and Letters,
and Strategic University Initiatives
Campus Box 8087
Idaho State University
Pocatello, ID 83209-8087

We currently seek to grow our existing endowment to $70,000, an amount that will allow us to secure funding for this award in perpetuity. The department is currently applying to foundations for a large grant, which will carry with it naming rights.

Questions and Further Information

For more information about the book award or ISU’s graduate programs in English, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies in English.