The Norton Writer's Prize 2013 Winners

We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2013 Norton Writer’s Prize: Daniel Bethencourt of Yale University, for his profile piece “The Perfect Son.” Bethencourt’s essay about a family owned blasting company is a testament to his thorough knowledge and research on the subject, while his trenchant prose and poetic descriptions evoke a story of work, family, and the beauty of a perfect blast.

Two runners-up stood out among the pool of outstanding entries: Denae Dyck for her keen literary analysis, “Compounding the ‘double vision’ of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh,” and Alex Ryan Bauer for his artfully segmented narrative, “A History of Men’s Fashions."

You can click on the titles below to read the winning essays.


Daniel Bethencourt

The Perfect Son
Daniel Bethencourt
Yale University

Daniel Bethencourt is a senior English major at Yale, a Creative Writing Concentrator in fiction, and was the Editor of the Yale Daily News Magazine. In his writing he finds himself drawn to profiles of obscure experts, as well as those who are obsessed with their work. Originally from outside Los Angeles, his reporting has appeared in the Yale Daily NewsThe Blade newspaper in Toledo, Ohio, and The Mail & Guardian in Johannesburg, South Africa.


Denae Dyck

Compounding the ‘double vision’ of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh
Denae Dyck
Ambrose University College

Denae Dyck was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. Denae cannot remember a time when she did not love to read, and this delight led her to pursue an English major from Ambrose University College. While she enjoys all varieties of literature, she has a particular fascination with poetry. Her essay “Compounding the ‘double vision’ of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh” emerges out of longstanding interests in the Victorian period. Denae is currently completing her final year of her BA and will begin an MA in the Fall of 2014.

Alex Ryan Bauer

A History of Men’s Fashions
Alex Ryan Bauer
University of Iowa

Alex Ryan Bauer studied comparative literature and French at the University of Iowa. A finalist for the Norman Mailer College Writing Award, he currently lives in San Francisco, California, and serves as an editorial intern at McSweeney's publishing house. He is the founder of BASED Magazine.