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 The statewide competition is for published books, as well as drama, short works (either published or unpublished), and student writing.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.

In 2017, 150 books were entered across the award’s categories, more than 80 manuscripts were submitted into the award’s Short Works Competition, and nearly 40 Maine students submitted work in the award’s Youth Competition.

+ 2017 Award Winner Interviews To read brief interviews with all of the winners of the 2017 Maine Literary Awards, click HERE.

+ 2017 Awards Ceremony The winners of the 2017 Maine Literary Awards were revealed live at a ceremony on Thursday, June 1 at SPACE in downtown Portland. To view more than 300 photos of the event, click HERE.

+ 2017 Award Finalists For a complete list of the 2017 finalists, click HERE.

PREVIOUS WINNERS & FINALISTS
2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 20132012 | 2011


2017 Maine Literary Awards: WINNERS

Book Award for Fiction
Vexation Lullaby
Justin Tussing

Book Award for Crime Fiction
Straw Man
Gerry Boyle

Book Award for Speculative Fiction
The Time Train Eric M. Bosarge

Book Award for Nonfiction (*A tie!)
Modified Caitlin Shetterly
American Character Colin Woodard

Book Award for Memoir
Poor Your Soul
Mira Ptacin

Book Award for Poetry
Booker’s Point
Megan Grumbling

Book Award for Young People’s Literature
Wrecked Maria Padian

Book Award for Children’s
Baby Bear’s Not Hibernating
Lynn Plourde (Illustrated by Teri Weidner)

Book Award for Anthology (Editor)
Take Heart: More Poems from Maine
Wesley McNair

John N. Cole Award for Maine-themed Nonfiction
Caught
Glen Libby (Photographs by Antonia Small)

Excellence in Publishing
Stop Here. This is the Place.
Susan Conley & Winky Lewis (Down East Books)

Drama Award (for film, theater, and other scripts)
Jefferson Navicky

Short Works Competition, Fiction
Brandon Dudley

Short Works Competition, Nonfiction
Margaret Newlin Rice

Short Works Competition, Poetry
Rosa Lane

Youth Competition, Fiction
Maddie Curtis 

Youth Competition, Nonfiction
Mohammed Albehadli

Youth Competition, Poetry
Alhassan Kareem
______________________________

SPECIAL AWARDS

2017 BOOK DONATION RECIPIENTS
Porter Memorial Library in Machias

2017 MWPA DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Ashley Bryan (Presented by Daniel Minter)
Presented for exceptional and steadfast contributions to the Maine literary arts.

A Note on Ashley Bryan from MWPA board member Megan Frazer Blakemore
“In 1968, scholar Rudine Sims Bishop wrote, “Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror.” Mr. Bryan’s books functioned on all three levels. And, to extend the metaphor, Mr. Bryan has always been standing in the doorway, inviting us all in. His body of work, both in words and illustrations, invites readers of all ages and backgrounds to listen, to participate, and to share in the experience.

Mr. Bryan’s work includes illustrated versions of traditional African tales, African-American spirituals, and more modern poets like Langston Hughes. His distinctive artwork brings these words to life for new generations. He brought this same magic to tales he spins himself. Most recently, in Freedom Over Me, he imagined the stories and dreams of 11 slaves sold at auction. His work shines a light on traditions and people that do not often find their way into mainstream publishing for children.

Mr. Bryan first discovered Maine when he was a student at the Skowhegan School of Painting. Over the years he visited numerous times, making extensive visits to concentrate on his work. In 1988, he moved here full time, setting up his home and studio on the Cranberry Isles. Maine could not have been more fortunate than to have this world-renowned artist make his home in our state. The MWPA presents this award to him in honor of his work and his years of cultivating community, spreading wisdom through words, and inviting us all through his doorway.”


FAQs

REVIEW PROCESS
All entries were 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 was 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


2018 Maine Literary Awards

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

ELIGIBILITY
The 2018 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 2017 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 have been published in 2017. Maine writers may self-nominate, or be nominated by others.

DEADLINE
All submissions must be postmarked between December 1, 2017 and February 1, 2018. Receipt of submissions will be acknowledged. The MWPA is not responsible for lost or damaged submissions.  All entrants will be notified of the finalists in each category via email, prior to the Awards ceremony.

MULTIPLE ENTRIES

  • Each individual book may only be entered into a single category—e.g. either nonfiction or memoir, but not both; either fiction or crime fiction, but not both.
  • Multiple different books or manuscripts may be nominated by authors and publishers, but each individual entry must be accompanied by its own nomination form.

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) Credit card payments may be Mastercard or Visa only. (3) No email or fax submissions will be accepted. (4) Please do not mail any submissions that require a signature. (5) 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. (6) 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. (7) 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 (Opens later in 2017)

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

Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance
ATTN: 2018 Maine Literary Awards
314 Forest Avenue, #318
Portland, ME 04101

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

*Postmarked no later than February 1, 2018.

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