The Florida Book Awards kicks off its eleventh annual competition with a call for entries in ten categories.
Established in 2006 and now the most comprehensive state book awards program in the nation, the contest recognizes and celebrates the year’s best books written by Sunshine State residents with the exception of submissions to the Florida Nonfiction and Visual Arts categories, whose authors may live elsewhere.
Two new categories are created—Younger Children’s Literature (approximately ages 0 – 6 and Older Children’s Literature (approximately ages 7 – 12.) Prior to this year there was only one Children’s category ages 0 -12. The range and volume of children’s books necessitated the change.
The Florida Book Awards competition is coordinated through the Florida State University Libraries, with the support of partner organizations from across the state. “The Florida Book Awards showcase the best of Florida's literary talent as well spotlight the state's fascinating history and rich natural assets," said Florida State University Libraries Dean Julia Zimmerman.
Other contest categories include Florida Nonfiction, General Fiction, General Nonfiction, Poetry, Popular Fiction, Spanish Language, Visual Arts, and Young Adult Literature. In 2014, the "Gwen P. Reichert Gold Medal for Young Children's Literature" was introduced, which provides a cash prize for the gold winner in the Younger Children's Literature category. This award is in memory of Gwen P. Reichert and serves as a lasting tribute to honor her accomplishments as a rare book collector, nurturer of authors and their audience, and her commitment to children's education.
Applicants are encouraged to submit their books into competition as soon as possible after books are officially published. Entries, which can be submitted by anyone (e.g. publisher, author or literary agent), must have both a copyright date between Jan. 1, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2016, and an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). All entries must be received no later than 5 p.m. Friday, January 13, 2017 (this is not a postmark deadline).
Three-person juries –– including members of co-sponsoring organizations, subject experts from the faculties of Florida colleges and universities, and previous Florida Book Award winners –– will choose up to three finalists in each of ten categories. In each category, the jury may award one Gold, Silver and Bronze medal.
Co-sponsors of the competition include humanities organizations from across the state such as the Florida Center for the Book; the State Library and Archives of Florida; the Florida Historical Society; the Florida Humanities Council; the Florida Literary Arts Coalition; the Florida Library Association; the Florida Association for Media in Education; the Center for Literature and Theatre @ Miami Dade College; the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America; Friends of FSU Libraries; the Florida Writers Association; the Florida Literacy Coalition; and “Just Read, Florida!”
The 2016 winners will be announced in early March 2017 and recognized at several events around the state including an awards banquet in April.
Winning books and their authors will be showcased in the summer 2017 issue of FORUM, the statewide magazine of the Florida Humanities Council, and will be featured at book festivals and association conferences throughout the year. In addition, copies of all award-winning books will be put on permanent public display in the Florida Governor’s Mansion library and in Florida State University’s Strozier Library.