Adult Book Awards

  • Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards —Recognize books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf established the book prizes in 1935 to reflect her family’s passion for issues of social justice. Today it remains the only American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity. Past winners have explored human-rights violations, exposed the effects of racism on children, reflected on growing up biracial, and illuminated the dignity of people as they search for justice.
    • Also available to non-U.S. citizens/residents
  • The PEN Open Book Award — Given for an exceptional book-length work of any genre by a writer of color. It is open to authors of color who have not, prior to the book’s publication, received wide media coverage. Works of fiction, literary nonfiction, biography/memoir, poetry, and other works of literary character are strongly preferred.
    • Also available to non-U.S. citizens/residents
  • Arab American Book Award — A literary program created to honor books written by and about Arab Americans. The program generates greater awareness of Arab American scholarship and writing through an annual award competition and educational outreach.
    • No citizenship or residence requirement, although geared toward Arab Americans
  • Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature — The APAALs honor books about Asian/Pacific Americans, their history and culture. Categories have included fiction and non-fiction for adults, picture/illustrated books, and children’s/young adult literature.
    • Exclusive to residents of the U.S. or Canada; if the co-illustrator is neither, work not eligible
  • BCALA Literary Awards — The Literary Awards Committee of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. (BCALA) presents the annual BCALA Literary Awards. The Committee present four prizes for adult books written by African American authors: a First Novelist Award, a Fiction Award, a Nonfiction Award, and a Poetry Award.
    • Available to non-U.S. residents but must be born in the U.S.; all authors, editors, and contributors must be African American
  • Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award — Annual grant of $2,000 for an emerging writer of color. This grant is intended to support the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities. The grantee may choose to use the grant for activities that include workshops, seminars, conferences, and retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of the work.
    • Also available to non-U.S. residents but must be born in the U.S.; all authors, editors, and contributors must be African American
  • The Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary ExcellenceThis annual award honors Louisiana’s revered storyteller, Ernest J. Gaines, and serves to inspire and recognize rising African-American fiction writers of excellence at a national level. The book award has become nationally recognized in its role of enhancing visibility of emerging African-American fiction writers while also expanding the audience for this literature. The annual award of a $15,000 cash prize is to support the writer and help enable her/him to focus on her/his art of writing.
    • Must be a U.S. citizen to be eligible
  • Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature — Celebrates the achievements of Hispanic Americans.
  • Hurston/Wright Legacy Award — Honors the best in Black literature in the United States and around the globe. Introduced in 2001, the Legacy Award was the first national award presented to Black writers by a national organization of Black writers. Fiction, nonfiction and poetry honorees are selected in a juried competition.
    • Also available to non-U.S. citizens and residents.
  • NAACP Image Awards — Celebrates the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts and those who promote social justice through creative work.
    • Also available to non-U.S. citizens and residents.
  • Phillis Wheatley Book Award — The Phillis Wheatley Book Award is given to books published within the last five years covering the topic of American Slavery.
  • Golden Baobab Prizes for Literature – The only annual pan-African literature prizes that inspire African authors to create and submit unpublished stories targeting readers below the age of 12 years. Currently, there are two Golden Baobab Prizes for Literature: for the best picture book, and for the best early chapter book. Additionally, Golden Baobab’s publishing sister company connects winning and longlisted authors to leading publishers across Africa and internationally.
    • Only available to citizens of African countries.
  • The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is open to fiction and narrative nonfiction by women of color and nonbinary writers of color. Winner will be awarded a $5,000 advance and a contract to publish their book with the Feminist Press
    • Only available to U.S. residents.
  • The Sillerman First Prize for African Poets – Awarded annually to an African poet who has not yet published a collection of poetry. The winner receives USD $1000 and book publication through the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press in Senegal.
    • Available to African nationals and residents, authors born in Africa, or authors with African parents. No citizenship requirement.

Children’s Book Awards

  • The Scholastic Asian Book Award – The AFCC Scholastic Asian Book Award (SABA) is the joint initiative of Scholastic Asia and Singapore Book Council (SBC). SABA will recognize children’s writers of Asian origin who are taking the experiences of life, spirit, and thinking in different parts of Asia to the world at large. The award also aims to promote the understanding of the Asian experience and its expression in innovative and creative forms.
    • Must be a resident of one of the Asian countries listed on their site. Awarded every two years.
  • Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards in Partnership with We Need Diverse Books — We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) has partnered with the Penguin Random House to manage the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards. The competition recognizes the unique voices of high school seniors across the country by providing scholarship awards in the amount of $10,000 for the following categories: Maya Angelou Award for Spoken Word Poetry; Poetry; Fiction/Drama; Personal Essay/Memoir. One additional award of $10,000 will be awarded to a student from the NYC-area.
  • The Walter Dean Myers Award — The annual Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children’s Literature, also known as “The Walters,” are named after celebrated children’s book author Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014).
    • Also available to non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. residents.
  • American Indian Youth Literature Award —Awarded biennially, the AIYLA identifies and honors the very best writing and illustrations by Native Americans and Indigenous peoples of North America. Books selected to receive the award present Indigenous North American peoples in the fullness of their humanity. Authors/illustrators may win the American Indian Youth Literature Award in the categories Best Picture Book, Best Middle Grade Book, and Best Young Adult Book. In addition, up to five awards may be selected as Honors books in each category.
    • No citizenship or residency requirement, although applicants must be Native American.
  • New Voices Award – Established in 2000, this award is for the unpublished author of color for a picture book manuscript.
    • Must be a U.S. resident
  • New Visions Award – Modeled after Lee & Low’s New Voices Award, this award is for Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Mystery middle grade or YA novels.
    • Must be a U.S. resident.
  • The Pura Belpre Award  — Established in 1996, this award is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.
    • Must be either a resident or a citizen of the U.S. or Puerto Rico
  • Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award — Texas State University College of Education developed the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award to honor authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican American experience. The award was established in 1995 and was named in honor of Dr. Tomás Rivera, a distinguished alumnus of Texas State University.
  • Carter G. Woodson Book Award — Presented to exemplary books written for children and young people each year at the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Annual Conference. Authors are recognized at the NCSS Annual Conference, which is attended by over 4,000 K-12 and university level educators and other social studies professionals who enjoy interacting with the Woodson Award-winning authors and will be interested in obtaining copies of books for use with their students.
    • Also available to non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. residents.
  • 28 Days Later Campaign (The Brown Bookshelf) — During the twenty-eight days of Black History Month, we profile a different children’s or young adult author and children’s illustrator, looking for the best new and unnoticed works by African-Americans. From picture books to novels, books fresh off the presses to those that have lurked in the background unsung for months or years.
    • Also available to non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. residents. Can be of the African Diaspora.