QUESTION: For the Social Change (Pearl S. Buck Award) category, the entry form says "nonfiction or poetry...on a topic related to social change," and what I'm wondering is whether nonfiction submissions need to be creative (like poetry) or whether academic, journalistic, and/or otherwise persuasive nonfiction would be acceptable? Would you address this question for me? Perhaps you could answer by referring to the previous winning pieces.
ANSWER: The category itself has a lot of range when it comes to subject matter. Basically anything that isn't outright fiction is fair game. Academic/journalistic and persuasive nonfiction essays are completely acceptable. These don't have to be creative, but that approach would be fine as well.
It is difficult to address this in terms of what has won in the past, because any approach could be accomplished to a winning level. From a sheer statistical point of view, many of the winning entries in previous years were poetry, but again I don't believe this to be a determiner. First and foremost the entries had to be about Social Change, not simply espousing a viewpoint; secondly, they had to be well-written to be considered for placement.