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2017 Florida Book Awards competition opens with call for entries

The Florida Book Awards kicks off its 12th annual competition with a call for entries in 11 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 in the Florida Nonfiction and Visual Arts categories, whose authors may live elsewhere.

This year, three new categories have been 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. Also, a Cookbook category has been added.

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.

The Richard E. Rice Gold Medal Prize for Visual Arts and the Phillip and Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal Prize for Florida Nonfiction were introduced in 2016. The Richard E. Rice Gold Medal Prize for Visual Arts will support a $500 prize for the Visual Arts Gold Medal Winner of the Florida Book Awards. This award serves as tribute to Richard E. Rice, who was afflicted with life-altering arthritis since childhood and spent a large amount of his growing up in the hospital. From his hospital room, he discovered his artistic talent at the early age of four and became a lifelong artist. Creating artwork offered Rice comfort, strength and joy, and this prize is to honor his talent and his commitment to art and to celebrate art and artists.

The Phillip and Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal Prize for Florida Nonfiction will provide a $500 prize for the Gold Medal Winner of this category. The Phillip and Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal Prize for Florida Nonfiction for the Florida Book Awards serves as a tribute to the donor’s parents, Phillip and Dana Zimmerman, recognizing their deep roots in Florida and their love of Florida’s rich history and culture.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their books into the competition any time after it is launched, and as soon as possible after books are officially published. Entries, which can be submitted by anyone, must be published between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2017, and have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). All entries must be received no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, 2018 (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 11 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 2017 winners will be announced in early March 2018 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 2018 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.

For general information and the entry form, requirements and more detailed submission instructions for the 2017 Florida Book Awards, visit http://floridabookawards.lib.fsu.edu.