Native Writers' Circle of the Americas

First Book Award Competition
Guidelines for 2007

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 (although this hasn't been updated lately.) Here are the guidelines for the upcoming competition for the year 2006-2007:

  1. The acceptance period for manuscripts will be ftom October 1, 2006, to January 2, 2007.

  2. Two copies of the submitted manuscript must be sent to:
    Geary Hobson / English Department / University of Oklahoma / Norman, OK 73019-0240.

    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.

  3. First Book, for the purpose of the competition, means the first book, of any category, to be published by a particular author. If, for example, an author has previously published a nonfiction book (regardless of content and subject), an anthology, a novel, even a cookbook or a genealogical volume, etc., and then submits his/her first book of poetry, such a work cannot be considered in the competition.

  4. For the purposes of determining the qualifications of a book for the competition, the following criteria should be observed:

    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.

  5. Each submitted manuscript should include:
    1. Author's address(es), especially a mailing address and phone number(s), but email and FAX numbers may also be sent.
    2. An acknowledgments page, to indicate the incorporation of possibly previously published work within the context of the submitted manuscript, with citations as thorough as possible.
    3. A brief biographical note, including place of residence and professional background, tribal background, writing career notes (where published, etc.), of no more than a paragraph

  6. Please do not email your submitted manuscript to us as an attachment. It will not be accepted.

  7. The winning authors will receive a cash award of $500.00 and a plaque, which will be bestowed during the annual Native Writers' Circle of the Americas awards ceremony sometime in the fall of 2007, along with the NWCA Lifetime Achievement Award winner and the Theresa Palmer Memorial Award winner.

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.

Recommend this website to a friend!

icon Return to the Storytellers Frontdoor