From Geary Hobson, Project Director of NWCA
Since 1992, the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas (NWCA), in conjunction with the Native Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma, has been conducting an annual First Book Awards competition. Judges serve each year to evaluate manuscripts in two categories, poetry and prose, before selecting the winners in each. Plans to formulate a consortium of universities and small presses are ongoing in which the winning manuscripts are to be published. The competition is open to writers of Native American background (full-blood, mixed-blood, enrolled, unenrolled, Metis, Canadian First Nations, Alaska Natives, Latin American Natives, etc.). Past winners of the competition, and the titles of their books, may be found on both the University of Oklahoma Native American Studies and the Native Storytellers web pages, and also at literature.awards.com (although this hasn't been updated lately.) Here are the guidelines for the upcoming competition for the year 2006-2007:
Judges ( who shall remain anonymous) will then evaluate the submissions. The evaluation period will run from January 2, 2007 until March 15, 2007. The winners in the two categories will be announced soon after the evaluation period has ended.
Poetry: Manuscripts must be at least 50 pages of poetry (not including title page, copyright page, blank pages for art and/or photographs, etc. 50 short poems---one to a page---is permissible, or even a single 50-page poem, but the poetry text must be a minimum of 50 pages (again, this does not include prospective pages of illustrations or photos.)
Prose: Manuscripts must be at least 100 pages of fiction ( a collection of short stories, sketches, or a short novel), or nonfiction (of any category---history, autobiography, literary criticism, philosophy, etc.). 100 pages of a novel-in-progress or a nonfiction work-in-progress is unacceptable. The submitted work must be a completed, self-contained draft.
I am hopeful that this will serve additionally as a press release to open the competition for the upcoming year. It seems as though it is becoming more difficult each year to get such notices in magazines and journals, and particularly newspapers, so it will be greatly appreciated if everyone reading this can do whatever you can to help us get the word out concerning the competition.
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