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Mission of the Jewish Book Council National Jewish Book Awards:
To promote the reading, writing, publishing, and distribution of quality books of Jewish content in English; to serve as the national resource center for information about the American Jewish literary scene; to serve as the coordinating body of Jewish literary activity in North America in both general and Jewish venues; and to serve as the North American representative of Jewish literature on the international scene.
The National Jewish Book Awards have been presented annually since 1948 to authors of books of exceptional literary achievement in a variety of Judaic subjects. The awards are designed to heighten awareness of outstanding books of Jewish interest published in the last year and
• to encourage the reading of meritorious books
• to recognize authors of outstanding Jewish literature
• to stimulate others to further literary creativity
• to acknowledge original contributions to scholarship
These awards acknowledge the seminal importance of a particular work. There is a monetary award for each winning author. A public presentation will recognize the superior efforts made by the author and publisher in preparation of the winning piece of literature. In addition, there is publicity for the event and the individual awardees. Presentations will be made at a benefit dinner and ceremony on March 7, 2017 at the Center for Jewish History in New York City.
To submit a book for the 2016 National Jewish Book Awards, please read ALL the guidelines. The submission link is at the bottom of the page.
Guidelines / Eligibility Rules
1. Books, either hardcover or original paperback, published between January 1, 2016–December 31, 2016 are eligible. They may be submitted as finished copies, galleys, or bound manuscripts, but, in the case of galleys or bound manuscripts, must be replaced by finished copies at time of publication. Submission may be by author or publisher.
2. If a book is published in November or December of 2015, and only if no galleys were available at that time, the book may be submitted for the 2016 program.
3. Complete series will not be accepted as one submission. Each title in the series must be submitted as an individual entry in the year of publication.
4. A previously submitted title, a new translation, and/or a reissue may not be resubmitted, unless it has been substantially reworked and has a new copyright date. However, if a book has won a National Jewish Book Award in a previous year, it may not be resubmitted, even it has been reworked.
5. The book must be available in English and distributed in North America.
6. Translations are eligible and must be submitted in the copyright year of the English translation. The prize will be awarded to the author.
7. Books available in e-book format only are accepted, however the selection must be submitted in hard copy for judging purposes. This may be in bound galley format.
8. For purposes of the National Jewish Book Awards, a Jewish book is one that deals with aspects of Judaism and Jewish life in the category(ies) delineated. A book cannot be considered for an awards category merely because its author is Jewish. A book written by a non-Jewish author is eligible if it has Jewish content.
9. Collections of previously published short stories, essays, or articles by a single author that are gathered into one compendium are eligible.
10. Only works by authors who are living at the commencement of the eligible calendar year (January 1, 2016) may be submitted to the National Jewish Book Award competition.
11. In the event the judges cannot come to a decision, an independent judge, designated by the President of the Jewish Book Council, will determine the winner.
Guidelines / Entry Rules
1. BOOK SUBMISSION. Seven copies (per category)* of each book nominated must be sent to the address below. A printed version of the submission form must accompany the books.
Jewish Book Council
520 8th Ave., 4th Floor
New York, NY 10018
*For submissions to the Fiction, Debut Fiction, and Book Club categories, 12 copies of the book must be submitted. Submitted books will not be returned.
2. ENTRIES. All books (or galleys) must be received by October 7, 2016 with a completed entry form. Only if a book has an October 2016 copyright, the deadline to receive it can be extended to October 31, 2016. Any books published in October 2016 will not be eligible for 2017 National Jewish Book Awards. No submission will be accepted without an electronic or print entry form. There is a $135 fee for each title submitted, and payment must accompany the entry form. If you are mailing in a check, a copy of the entry form must accompany the check, as forms can be printed upon completion. Payment must be received by October 31, 2016 or the title will become ineligible. If a selection wins, an additional five (5) copies, signed by the author, are required and will be requested by the Jewish Book Council. Refunds will not given once the payment has been submitted, regardless of eligibility, so please read the guidelines carefully.
3. FORMAT. All books, including e-books, must be submitted in print format.
4. SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS. Self-published books may be submitted.
5. CATEGORIES. Attention to category definition is essential. Please see accompanying definitions below to identify the appropriate category. On the entry form, the respondent should specify one category as most appropriate. A book may be submitted to more than one category: for EACH additional category, $55 and seven (7) more copies of the book* must be sent. If the judges receive the submission and feel it would fit more appropriately in a different category, they may request that the title be switched. Should the publisher and/or author agree, an additional seven (7) copies will be requested at no additional fee.
*For submissions to the fiction and debut fiction categories,12 copies of the book must be submitted.
6. OCCASIONAL AWARDS. Books in these categories will be judged over a span of up to three years. Books must be submitted in their year of publication and will be retained by the designated panel for future evaluation.
7. EVERETT FAMILY FOUNDATION JEWISH BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD.
All nonfiction books submitted are automatically eligible for the Everett Family Foundation Jewish Book of the Year Award, which is determined by a select committee.
8. SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD. This category has been created to provide the Jewish Book Council with the flexibility to recognize selection(s) of outstanding merit. A select panel, headed by the Chair of the National Jewish Book Awards, will make this determination. In this case, additional copies of a book may be requested (with no additional fee required) by the panel.
9. AUTHORS. Authors must be made aware of, and consent to, the entry of his/her book for the National Jewish Book Awards. If the author wants to be notified directly of winning or finalist status, we must have the author’s email address.
10. WINNERS. For winning books, the individual whose name appears on the submission form will be advised of the judges’ decision in January, 2016. It is the responsibility of that person to contact the author. If the author’s email address is on the entry form, the author will be notified directly. The publisher is encouraged to promote the finalists and winning titles through all appropriate media. If the author of the work is not living, the award is given to the estate of the author.
11. PUBLISHERS/AUTHORS. The submitting party (or a designated representative) of a winning book is responsible for arranging the winning author’s attendance at the Awards ceremony to be held on March 7, 2017 at the Center for Jewish History in New York City. Each winning publisher (or author if the submission was made by the author) must agree to contribute $450 to help defray the cost of the promotion of the winning titles for the 2016 National Jewish Book Awards, regardless if the winning author is able to attend the ceremony. This payment entitles the publisher to electronic copies of the National Jewish Book Award seals, which may be printed on the winning book, and two tickets, for the author and a guest, to the ceremony and gala dinner. If there is a coauthor or illustrator, that person becomes the guest of the author. Additional tickets to the ceremony and gala dinner may be purchased.
Definition of Award Categories
AMERICAN JEWISH STUDIES Celebrate 350 A nonfiction book about the Jewish experience in North America.
*ANTHOLOGIES & COLLECTIONS A book of essays, biographies, short stories, or other collected works by more than one author. The award is given to the editor of the collected works.
BOOK CLUB AWARD The Book Club Award recognizes an outstanding work of fiction or nonfiction that inspires meaningful conversation about Jewish life, identity, practice, or history. The Award recognizes the power of books to inspire Jewish community and thought-provoking discussions.
BIOGRAPHY, AUTOBIOGRAPHY, & MEMOIR The Krauss Family Award A biography, autobiography, personal memoir or family history. The subject need not be a Jewish person or family but must have significant relevance to the Jewish experience.
CHILDREN’S LITERATURE A book on a Jewish theme from infancy to age 11. If the award is given to an illustrated children’s book, the award will be shared by the author and illustrator.
CONTEMPORARY JEWISH LIFE & PRACTICE Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award A nonfiction book about current tools and resources for Jewish living. These include, but are not limited to, cookbooks, holiday how-to books, and life-cycle books.
DEBUT FICTION Goldberg Prize An author’s first published novel, novella, or short-story collection with Jewish content.
EDUCATION & JEWISH IDENTITY In Memory of Dorothy Kripke A nonfiction work that focuses on theory, history, and/or practice of Jewish education and/or identity. Textbooks are not eligible.
FICTION JJ Greenberg Memorial Award A novel or short-story collection of exemplary literary merit, with Jewish content.
HISTORY Gerrard and Ella Berman Memorial Award A nonfiction work about the Jewish historical experience. Books focusing primarily on the Holocaust and the American Jewish experience do not belong in this category.
HOLOCAUST A nonfiction book concerning the Holocaust including autobiographies, memoirs, and academic studies.
MODERN JEWISH THOUGHT & EXPERIENCE Dorot Foundation Award in Memory of Joy Ungerleider Mayerson A nonfiction work addressing Jewish thought and experience.
POETRY Berru Award in Memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash A book of verse consisting primarily of poems of Jewish concern.
SCHOLARSHIP Nahum Sarna Memorial Award A nonfiction selection that makes an original contribution to Jewish learning. This includes, but is not limited to, works on Bible, Rabbinics, and Jewish Law.
SEPHARDIC CULTURE Mimi S. Frank Award in memory of Becky Levy A nonfiction book that explores the traditions and practices unique to Sephardic Jews.
*VISUAL ARTS A work of one or more visual artists (painters, weavers, sculptors, photographers, etc.) which includes illustrations and images of Jewish content as a dominant component.
WOMEN’S STUDIES Barbara Dobkin Award A nonfiction book about women’s role in the Jewish experience.
WRITING BASED ON ARCHIVAL MATERIAL The JDC-Herbert Katzki Award A book of modern historical writing published in English based on archival material, including footnotes and bibliography.
YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE The Posner Award A young adult book on a Jewish theme for ages 12 – 18.
* indicates occasional award not presented annually