2015 Florida Book Awards competition opens with call for entries

The Florida Book Awards has kicked off its tenth annual competition with a call for entries in nine 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 penned by Sunshine State residents with the exception of submissions to the Florida Nonfiction and Visual Arts categories, whose authors may live elsewhere.

The Florida Book Awards competition is coordinated through the Florida State University Libraries, with the support of partner organizations from across the state.

“The tenth anniversary of the Florida Book Awards is an opportunity for us to celebrate its success and growth,” said Julia Zimmerman, dean of Florida State University Libraries. “More than ever, the submissions showcase the best of Florida’s literary talent as well spotlight the state’s fascinating history and rich natural assets.”

The contest categories are Children’s Literature, Florida Nonfiction, General Fiction, General Nonfiction, Poetry, Popular Fiction, Spanish Language, Visual Arts and Young Adult Literature. Last year, the Gwen P. Reichert Gold Medal for Children’s Literature was introduced, which provides a cash prize for the gold winner in the 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 any time after the competition is launched, and as soon as possible after books are officially published. Entries, which can be submitted by anyone, including publishers, authors or literary agents, must have both a copyright date between Jan. 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2015, and an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). All entries must be received no later than 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 (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 the nine categories. In each category, the jury may award one gold, silver and bronze medal.

Co-sponsors of the competition are 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 2015 winners will be announced in March 2016 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 2016 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 2015 Florida Book Awards, visit http://floridabookawards.lib.fsu.edu.