YSU English Festival earns second Intellectual Freedom Award

The Youngstown State University English Festival has been selected to receive the 2019 Intellectual Freedom Award from the National Council of Teachers of English.

The Festival will be presented the honor in November at the NCTE Annual Convention in Baltimore. The Festival also won the award in 2004.

“For the past 41 years, the clear goals of the YSU English Festival have included quality literature for students and consistency in the selection of materials which have enabled Festival sponsors to stand up to censorship challenges and to further intellectual freedom and the students’ right to read,” reads the nomination for the award submitted by the Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts.

Since 1978, more than 100,000 junior and senior high school students from more than 300 schools and at least eight states have attended the three-day English Festival on YSU’s campus. Those participants have read an estimated 750,000 books, written thousands of essays and had the chance to meet dozens of the nation’s most prominent and successful authors of young adult literature. Along the way, the Festival has earned its share of national recognition, has been the topic of scholarly articles and presentations at state and national conferences, and has been replicated around the globe, from Georgia to Guam.

“We are thrilled to be recognized once again for our efforts to spread the joy of reading and critical thinking to young people throughout the region,” said Angela Messenger, coordinator of the YSU Writing Center who co-chairs the Festival with Jeff Buchanan, professor and chair of English, and Gary Salvner, retired professor and chair of English and one of the founders of the Festival.

The National Council of Teachers of English, with 25,000 individual and institutional members worldwide, is the nation’s oldest literacy organization dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education.