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Literary Awards

Following is a list of literary awards most of which are centered in the United States. This is by no means a complete list, and is instead intended to capture some of the larger awards. If there is an award missing here that you think warrants inclusion, by all means contact us.

American Book Awards – The American Book Award is an American literary award that annually recognizes a set of books and people for “outstanding literary achievement.”

Bancroft Prize – The Bancroft Prize is awarded each year by the trustees of Columbia University for books about diplomacy or the history of the Americas.

Benjamin Franklin Awards – The Benjamin Franklin Book Awards™ are administered by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) with help from over 150 book publishing professionals including librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors.

Best Translated Book Award – The Best Translated Book Award is an American literary award that recognizes the previous year’s best original translation into English, one book of poetry and one of fiction.

Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry – The Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry is awarded biennially by the Library of Congress on behalf of the nation in recognition for the most distinguished book of poetry written by an American and published during the preceding two years.

Bollingen Prize – The Bollingen Prize for Poetry is a literary honor bestowed on an American poet in recognition of the best book of new verse within the last two years, or for lifetime achievement.

Bram Stoker Award – The Bram Stoker Award is a recognition presented annually by the Horror Writers Association (HWA) for “superior achievement” in dark fantasy and horror writing.

Caldecott Medal – The Randolph Caldecott Medal annually recognizes the preceding year’s “most distinguished American picture book for children”, beginning with 1937 publications. It is awarded to the illustrator by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

Center for Fiction First Novel Prize – The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize is an annual award presented by The Center for Fiction, a non-profit organization in New York City, for the best debut novel.

Colorado Book Awards – The Colorado Book Awards are awards presented annually to Colorado authors, editors, illustrators, and photographers who exemplify the best in their category in the state during a given year.

Dana Award – The Dana Award is a literary award presented in short fiction, poetry and the novel.

Digital Book Awards – The Digital Book Awards recognizes innovation, creativity and excellence in all aspects of digital publishing.

Dos Passos Prize – The John Dos Passos Prize is awarded annually to the best currently under-recognized American writer in the middle of their career.

Edgar Awards – The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (popularly called the Edgars), named after Edgar Allan Poe, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America, based in New York City. They honor the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, television, film, and theater published or produced in the previous year.

Edward Lewis Wallant Award – Award presented annually to a writer whose fiction is considered to have significance for American Jews.

Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction – The Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction is an annual prize awarded by the University of Georgia Press named in honor of the American short story writer and novelist Flannery O’Connor.

Foreword INDIES – The Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards recognize the best independently published books.

Frost Medal – The Robert Frost Medal is an award of the Poetry Society of America for “distinguished lifetime service to American poetry.”

Goldsmith Book Prize – The award is meant to recognize works that “[improve] government through an examination of the intersection between press, politics, and public policy.”

Hugo Awards – The Hugo Awards are a set of awards given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year.

James Jones First Novel Fellowship – A prize of $10,000 is given annually for a novel-in-progress by a U.S. writer who has not published a novel.

James Laughlin Award – The James Laughlin Award, formerly the Lamont Poetry Prize, is given annually for a poet’s second published book; it is the only major poetry award that honors a second book.

Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize – The Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies and the Department of English at the University of Rochester have awarded the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for fiction by an American woman since 1975.

Kingsley & Kate Tufts Poetry Awards – The Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards are a pair of American prizes based at Claremont Graduate University. They are given to poets for their collections of poetry written in the English language, by a citizen or legal resident alien of the United States.

Lambda Literary Award – Lambda Literary Awards (also known as the “Lammys”) are awarded yearly by the US-based Lambda Literary Foundation to published works which celebrate or explore LGBT themes.

Lannan Literary Awards – The Lannan Literary Awards are a series of awards and literary fellowships given out in various fields by the Lannan Foundation.

Los Angeles Times Book Prize – The Los Angeles Times prizes “currently have nine single-title categories: biography, current interest, fiction, first fiction, history, mystery/thriller, poetry, science and technology, and young adult fiction.

Minnesota Book Awards – The Minnesota Book Awards are presented annually for books created by writers, illustrators or book artists who are Minnesotans.

National Book Awards – The National Book Awards are a set of annual U.S. literary awards. At the final National Book Awards Ceremony every November, the National Book Foundation presents the National Book Awards and two lifetime achievement awards to authors.

National Book Critics Circle Awards – The National Book Critics Circle Awards are a set of annual American literary awards by the National Book Critics Circle to promote “the finest books and reviews published in English.”

National Outdoor Book Award – The National Outdoor Book Award (NOBA) was formed in 1997 as an American-based non-profit program which each year presents awards in ten categories honoring the best in outdoor writing and publishing.

National Poetry Series – The National Poetry Series is an American literary awards program. They sponsor the publication of five books of poetry annually. Manuscripts are solicited through an annual open competition, judged and chosen by poets of national stature, and issued by various publishers.

National Translation Award – The National Translation Award is an annual prize given by the American Literary Translators Association to an exceptional translation of a book-length work published in the preceding calendar year.

Nautilus Book Awards – Nautilus Book Awards is an annual accolade of books in the genre of social and environmental justice.

Nebula Award – The Nebula Awards annually recognize the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in the United States during the previous year. The awards are organized and awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

Newbery Medal – The John Newbery Medal is a literary award given by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The award is given to the author of “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.”

Nobel Prize for Literature – The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Alfred Nobel, produced “in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.”

O. Henry Award – The O. Henry Award is an annual American award given to short stories of exceptional merit.

Peggy Helmerich Award – The Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award is an American literary prize awarded by the Tulsa Library Trust in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is awarded annually to an “internationally acclaimed” author who has “written a distinguished body of work and made a major contribution to the field of literature and letters”

PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction – The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is awarded annually by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to the authors of the year’s best works of fiction by living American citizens.

PEN/Hemmingway Award – The PEN/Hemingway Award is awarded annually to a full-length novel or book of short stories by an American author who has not previously published a full-length book of fiction.

PEN/Open Book – PEN/Open Book (known as the Beyond Margins Award through 2009) is a program intended to foster racial and ethnic diversity within the literary and publishing communities, and works to establish access for diverse literary groups to the publishing industry

Pulitzer Prizes – The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States.

Pushcart Prize – The Pushcart Prize is an American literary prize published by Pushcart Press that honors the best “poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot” published in the small presses over the previous year. Magazine and small book press editors are invited to submit up to six works they have featured.

Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize – The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is awarded annually by The Poetry Foundation; the foundation also publishes Poetry.

Spur Award – Spur Awards are literary prizes awarded annually by the Western Writers of America. The purpose of the Spur Awards is to honor writers for distinguished writing about the American West.

St. Francis Literary Prize – The St. Francis College Literary Prize is a biennial literary award. The prize of $50,000 is presented to a mid-career author in honor of a third to fifth book of fiction.

St. Louis Literary Award – The St. Louis Literary Award has been presented yearly since 1967 to a distinguished figure in literature.

Stonewall Book Award – The Stonewall Book Award is a set of three literary awards that annually recognize “exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience” in English-language books published in the U.S.

The Story Prize – The Story Prize is an annual book award established in 2004 that honors the author of an outstanding collection of short fiction with a $20,000 cash award.

Wilder Award – The Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal is a prize awarded by the American Library Association (ALA) to writers or illustrators of children’s books published in the United States who have over a period of years made substantial and lasting contributions to children’s literature.

William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition – The William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition is one of America’s leading literary competitions and has been presenting awards in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

Whiting Awards – The Whiting Award is an American award presented annually to ten emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and plays.

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