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NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award - Previous Revision


The purpose of the NCTE/SLATE Intellectual Freedom Awards is to honor individuals, groups, or institutions that merit recognition for advancing the cause of intellectual freedom. Award categories are (1) a national award and (2) NCTE affiliate-based award.

Any member of the National Council of Teachers of English may make a nomination for the national award by following the specifications below.

One national award will be given each year, with up to two honorable mentions.

The national award winner will receive a plaque from NCTE; honorable mention winners will receive certificates. Awardees will be acknowledged at the NCTE Annual Convention during the Thursday General Session.  The winner will receive complimentary convention registration and will be mentioned in appropriate Council publications.

The eligibility criteria for the national NCTE/SLATE Intellectual Freedom Awards are as follows:

  • the awardee has shown courage in advancing the cause of intellectual freedom or fighting censorship; 
  • the awardee can be an educator or noneducator; 
  • the awardee can be an individual, group, or institution; 
  • the awardee's activity can be related to particular recent events (e.g., as in a censorship dispute) or it can be ongoing (e.g., as in leadership demonstrated over a period of years); 
  • the same awardee may not be named for two years in succession.

The procedural rules for the national NCTE/SLATE Intellectual Freedom Awards are as follows: description of the activities or events that merited the award must be presented by May 1 in two forms: the Intellectual Freedom Award Summary Sheet, and concise documentation and/or testimony of not less than one single-spaced page and not more than three double-spaced pages and three pages of attachments.


  • A nationally syndicated columnist who has taken a stand for intellectual freedom
  • An organization that has been active in censorship cases
  • A legislator who has opposed censorship legislation
  • An author or film producer whose work focused on intellectual freedom

2011 Winner and Honorable Mention Awards

List of Previous Winners

Judges for the national NCTE/SLATE Intellectual Freedom Awards will be a five-member joint subcommittee of the NCTE/SLATE Steering Committee and the Standing Committee Against Censorship, headed in alternate years by the Chair of SLATE and the Chair of the Standing Committee Against Censorship.

The permission of the potential awardee must be obtained in advance by the nominator. This specification acknowledges that many who act in defense of intellectual freedom remain under continued scrutiny and pressure. They sometimes choose to avoid public notice which, however supportive, places them under further duress.

Nominations with appropriate documentation must be received at the office of the NCTE Division Director of Communications & Affiliate Services by May 1.

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A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts