Guidelines (2019 pub date)


The Massachusetts Book Awards recognize compelling works of Massachusetts (1) fiction, (2) nonfiction, (3) poetry (4) children’s picture books/early readers, and (5) middle-grade/young adult literature. No entry fee is required. Authors must be current (full- or part-time) residents of Massachusetts.

The program develops a list of “must-read” (long-listed) books in each of the five categories. Those lists are promoted throughout the Commonwealth and at selected regional and/or national conferences and meetings. From the long-lists, one award winner and two honors writers are named. Those authors/books are celebrated in an awards event at the Massachusetts State House. All of the long-listed and awarded books are placed in Special Collections at the Massachusetts State Library.

Submission Guidelines are below.  Please familiarize yourself with award categories/eligibility which are detailed after submission instructions.

Submitting a Book:  Complete the online entry form (link below).   Then send THREE copies of each book nominated — in its original publishing format — to the awards address below. If a book is long-listed (i.e., named a “Must-Read” title), Mass Center for the Book will call for additional reading copies.

Deadline: December 31, 2019 (postmark date)

Mailing address:

Mass Center for the Book
23 Bradford St
Concord, MA 01742
Attn: Book Awards

Please DO NOT require a signature as that will delay delivery.

Entry Form: http://bit.ly/MassBooks20

Award Categories

Fiction:  Full-length novels & collections of short stories by a single author are eligible. Collaborations are eligible if both (all) authors are current residents of Massachusetts.

Nonfiction:  Full-length works of general nonfiction and collections of essays by a single author are eligible. Anthologies/collaborations are eligible if ALL authors are Massachusetts-based. At present, the MassBook Awards program does not review advice, self-help, cookbooks, textbooks, or how-to books.

Poetry: Collections of poetry by a single author are eligible. A collection may consist entirely of new poems or of a new selection of work from throughout a writer’s career. Chapbooks are eligible. Anthologies/collaborations are eligible if ALL poets are current residents of Massachusetts.

Children’s / Young Adult Literature:  Picture, early-reader, middle-grade, and young-adult books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry are eligible. Guidelines for topic, collaboration, and originality are the same as those for adult books in each category, with the exception that a picture-book illustrator need not be a Massachusetts resident.

The MassBook Medal: From time to time, the Massachusetts Center for the Book will award the Massachusetts Book Medal to a person or organization in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the Massachusetts community of the book. The committee does not accept formal application for this award. Past recipients of the Medal have included Stanley Kunitz, Eric Carle, PEN New England, and Reach Out and Read.

General Eligibility Guidelines

1. Books must have been written by authors currently residing in Massachusetts.  Part-time residents of Massachusetts are eligible; temporary residents (e.g., visiting professors or visiting writers-in-residence) are not.  Writers must be living at the time their books are submitted for consideration.

2. Any individual, organization, or company may enter a book in any appropriate category.

3. Anthologies or collaboration are eligible if ALL authors are Massachusetts-based.

4. Self-published and e-original books remain eligible in the current awards year.  Judges prefer to read print copies. If an e-only book is being submitted, please contact bookawards@massbook.org  for details.

5. Books must have been copyrighted in their original format during the calendar year 2019.

6. An author may be recognized for more than one book per year. Books by authors who have previously won a MassBook award are eligible.

7.  All books become property of the MassBook Awards program. Note: Mass Center for the Book cannot be responsible for returning any submissions deemed ineligible or any extra copies of the book when it has been submitted by more than one person.

8.  Submission of a title confirms the following: Massachusetts Center for the Book has permission to use the book cover, excerpts from the text, and publicity notices in any promotion of the Awards.

9. Each category has its own judging panel which draws from a variety of reading communities. The Massachusetts Center for the Book and the MassBook judges resolve all questions about eligibility; the judges determine the award winners and honorees. The decisions of the panels are final.