The Maine Literary Awards is an annual competition sponsored and coordinated by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Nominations are open to all Maine residents, including seasonal residents. The statewide competition is for published books, as well as drama, short works (either published or unpublished), and student writing. Maine writers may self-nominate, or be nominated by others.

SUBMISSIONS
December 1, 2016 – February 1, 2017

AWARD CEREMONY
May 25, 2017

PREVIOUS WINNERS
2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 20132012 | 2011


2017 Maine Literary Awards

BOOK AWARDS
 Fiction
→ Crime Fiction
→ Speculative Fiction
→ Nonfiction
→ Memoir
→ Poetry
→ Children’s Literature
→ Young People’s Literature
→ Anthology
→ John N. Cole Award for Maine-themed Nonfiction
→ Excellence in Publishing

DRAMA AWARD
Drama (for film, theater, and other scripts)

SHORT WORKS AWARDS
→ Fiction
→ Nonfiction
→ Poetry

YOUTH AWARDS
→ Fiction
→ Nonfiction
→ Poetry

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

ELIGIBILITY
The 2017 Maine Literary Awards are open to all current Maine residents, including seasonal residents. All nominations to the Book Awards, regardless of category, must have been published during the 2016 calendar year. The editors (or lead editor) of books entered in the Anthology category must be Maine residents. Maine publishers of books by out-of- state authors may enter the Excellence in Publishing Award. Nominations to the Drama Awards and Short Works Awards may be unpublished or previously published works, as well as excerpts from larger works; previously published short works must be from 2015. Maine writers may self-nominate, or be nominated by others.

DEADLINE
All submissions must be postmarked by February 1, 2017. Receipt of submissions will be acknowledged. The MWPA is not responsible for lost or damaged submissions. The 2017 Maine Literary Awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

MULTIPLE ENTRIES
Authors and publishers may nominate multiple different books or manuscripts, but each individual entry must be accompanied by its own nomination form. Each individual book may only be entered into a single category, e.g. either nonfiction or memoir, but not both.

SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS
Self-published books may be entered in the relevant book-award category; there is no separate category for self-published books.

SUBMISSION FEES

Book Awards & Excellence in Publishing Award
Members $25 | Nonmembers $45

Short Works Awards & Drama Award
Members $10 | Nonmembers $25

Youth Awards
Free!

THE FINE PRINT
(1) Checks payable to “MWPA” (2) No email or fax submissions will be accepted. (3) Please do not mail any submissions that require a signature. (4) If an incomplete nomination is received and time allows, the MWPA will do its best to notify the submitter and rectify the problem, however, the MWPA is not responsible for fixing incomplete nominations. (5) The MWPA reserves the right to decline to give out an award in any category if the judges determine there are no entries of sufficient quality to merit an award. In such a circumstance, one-half (50%) of the entry fee will be returned to the entrants in the relevant category. (6) The MWPA reserves the right to announce fewer than three finalists in any category if the judges determine there are not enough entries of sufficient quality to merit naming three finalists. In such a circumstance, no entry fees will be returned so long as a winner in the category is announced.

SUBMISSION DETAILS

BOOK AWARDS

  • Please submit two copies of each book being nominated.
  • Books published exclusively as ebooks may be entered but must be submitted in printed form on 8.5 x 11 paper.
  • Crime Fiction includes noir, thriller, suspense, mystery, police procedurals, cozys, and related genres.
  • Speculative Fiction includes science fiction, fantasy, dystopian, horror, postapocalyptic, supernatural, and related genres.
  • Submissions in the Crime and Speculative Fiction categories are elective; authors may nominate crime or speculative fictional works in the general Fiction category.
  • Children’s Literature is a general term for illustrated books meant to either be read to young children or read by very young, new readers.
  • Young People’s Literature is a general term for chapter books meant to read by kids who are reading comfortably on their own, such as “middle readers” and “young adults.”
  • Anthology is defined as “a published collection of writings (such as poems or short stories) by different authors.” In some cases, anthology way also refer to a collection various genres of writing by a single author (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc.) collected in a single book but selected by an editor other than the author. Collections of prose or poetry written by a single author should be submitted in their appropriate categories.
  • Submissions to the John N. Cole Award for Maine-themed Nonfiction must be both Maine-themed and nonfiction.
  • The Excellence in Publishing award is open to Maine publishers of books written by both -in-state and out-of-state authors and submissions may include a wide range of books that do not fit other categories, such as photography books, cookbooks, and field guides, for example.
  • No submissions will be returned.

 SHORT WORKS AWARDS & DRAMA AWARD

  • Please submit two copies of your manuscript, which cannot exceed 20 pages for fiction and nonfiction or 5 pages for poetry (one to five poems totaling no more than five pages), and may include the entire script for drama.
  • Unpublished or previously published works are accepted, as well as excerpts from larger works; all previously published short works must have been published in 2016.
  • All manuscripts must meet the following formatting requirements: 12-point font, double-spaced lines (fiction), and one-inch margins on standard 8.5 x 11 paper; poetry and drama may be submitted single-space.
  • The author’s name should not appear on any of the manuscript pages.
  • A separate cover sheet with the author’s name and the title of the work may be included.
  • No submissions will be returned.

YOUTH AWARDS

This free competition is open to young adults in Maine’s middle and high schools, and to home-schooled students at comparable age and grade levels. The awards in youth categories are generously sponsored by Maine Authors Publishing and the Maine Poetry Society.

  • Please submit two copies of your manuscript, which cannot exceed 20 pages for fiction and nonfiction or 5 pages for poetry (one to five poems totaling no more than five pages).
  • All manuscripts must meet the following formatting requirements: 12-point font, double-spaced lines (excluding poetry), and one-inch margins on standard 8.5 x 11 paper.
  • The author’s name should not appear on any of the manuscript pages.
  • A separate cover sheet with the author’s name and the title of the work may be included.
  • Multiple nominations for the Youth Competition categories will be accepted, but make sure the relevant name, work, and genre are clearly indicated on a cover sheet.
  • No submissions will be returned.
  • Teachers and Parents: Please include your name and contact information if you are nominating a student.  The following format can be used: Mrs. Teacher Jones, Maine Country School 1. Jane Student – “My Summer Vacation” – Nonfiction 2. Joe Student  – “Mrs. Jones Is Awesome” – Poetry

SUBMIT

NOMINATION FORM (Printable PDF)

Please mail your books or manuscripts, a completed nomination form, and entry fee to:

Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance
ATTN: 2017 Maine Literary Awards
314 Forest Avenue, #318
Portland, ME 04101

*Checks payable to “MWPA.” Please do not mail any submissions that require a signature.

FAQs

REVIEW PROCESS
All entries will be judged by a panel of professionals in the literary arts, including award-winning authors, editors, librarians, university professors, and others. Jurors are selected for their expertise in a specific genre or in the literary arts generally. Every possible effort is made to avoid conflicts of interest during the review and award process.

Each entry to the Maine Literary Awards is reviewed separately by two judges who evaluate the entry in the categories of: Strength of writing; Depth of characterization and content; Achievement of literary intent; Emotional impact; Literary merit. (*Only in the category of Excellence in Publishing is the book as a physical object also taken into consideration.)

MWPA MEMBERS/NONMEMBERS
The Maine Literary Awards are open to all Maine writers. Membership in the MWPA is not required to enter or win. Every year, nonmembers of the MWPA are winners or finalists in the Maine Literary Awards. In 2016, for example, there were numerous winners and finalists in the both the book awards and short works awards categories.

A few examples of non-MWPA-member winners in the 2016 book awards include:
Love and Other Ways of Dying by Michael Paterniti (Nonfiction), How to Cook a Moose by Kate Christensen (Memoir), Little Arias by Kristen Case (Poetry), The Lemonade Hurricane by Lucia Morelli (Children’s Literature), Historical Atlas of Maine by Stephen J. Hornsby and Richard W. Judd (Excellence in Publishing).

A few examples of non-MWPA-member finalists in the 2016 book awards include:
Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen (Fiction), Plucked by Rebecca M. Herzig (Nonfiction), The Presumpscot Baptism of a Jewish Girl by Lizzy Lemieux (Poetry), Azalea Unschooled by Liza Kleinman (Young People’s Literature), One Maine Christmas Eve by Douglas Coffin (Children’s Literature), Full Service by David Hill (Excellence in Publishing).

QUESTIONS
Further questions about Maine Literary Awards submissions may be directed to Projects & Programs Coordinator Hannah Perry: perry@mainewriters.org

SPONSORS

The 2017 Maine Literary Awards are also generously supported by the John N. Cole Family, Just Write Books, Maine Authors Publishing, Maine Poetry Society, University of Southern Maine. 

PUBLISHING PARTNERS
We are very excited to announce several  partnerships for the 2017 Maine Literary Awards that will result in the publication of the winning manuscripts in the Short Works and Youth Awards. The MWPA is grateful to the editors and publishers for their belief in and support of Maine writers.

  • Winners of the Youth Award in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry will all be published in the Maine Sunday Telegram.
  • Winner of the Short Works Award for Fiction will be considered for publication in the Maine Review.
  • Winner of the Short Works Award for Nonfiction will be considered for publication in the Stonecoast Review.
  • Winner of the Short Works Award for Poetry will be considered for publication in Off the Coast.
  • Winners of 2016 Maine Literary Awards in the Book Awards categories will be invited to participate in a special “winner’s table” at the Books in Boothbay book festival in July 2017.

*Participation in these publishing opportunities is NOT mandatory in any way and participation will have NO impact whatsoever in the selection of winning entries; after winners in each category have been announced, the winners will be given the opportunity to decide whether or not they would like to participate and have their piece published.

QUESTIONS

All questions about Maine Literary Awards submissions may be directed to Projects & Programs Coordinator Hannah Perry: perry@mainewriters.org