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If you’re a local author, you’ll want to know more about the Washington State Book Awards. Each year, these awards honor notable books penned by a Washington author. It's one of the most prominent and prestigious honors in the region. Past winners and finalists include Sharma Shields (The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac), Laura Da' (Tributaries), Matt Ruff (Lovecraft Country), and Lindy West (Shrill) — but it's impossible to choose a representative selection; the awards are a who's who of Washington writers.

What you really need to know is that the submission period for the 2019 Book Awards has just opened and runs through December 1, 2018. And it's absolutely free — there's no financial gatekeeping on these awards, and its administrators are committed to an open process. If you and your book meet the criteria (see below), your submission is welcome. Writers, take note: your publisher may submit on your behalf, but you should encourage them to do so — and you can always submit yourself. It's easy! (Here's how.)

For complete information, visit the Washington Center for the Book website.

Washington State Book Awards FAQs

What are the criteria for submission?

Submissions for the Washington State Books Awards are open now through December 1. Physical copies of the book must be received by December 1, but submission at time of publication is heartily encouraged.

Books published by a Washington author in 2018 in any of eight categories are eligible:

  • Fiction
  • Biography/Memoir
  • Poetry
  • General nonfiction/history
  • Young adult
  • Middle grade (ages 9 to 12)
  • Young readers (ages 6 to 8)
  • Children’s picture book

"Washington author" includes writers who are current residents and have lived here for at least three years, or who have lived in Washington State as a primary residence for at least five years — reflecting a deep connection to the state and region.

How are books judged?
Books are evaluated by a carefully selected panel of librarians and booksellers, based on literary merit, lasting importance, and overall quality. Judges review every book submitted (usually between 150 and 200) that meet the criteria above. A list of judges is available on the Washington Center for the Books website.

Who administers the awards?
The Washington Center for the Book — a partnership of The Seattle Public Library and the Washington State Library — administers the Washington State Book Awards. These organizations are collectively committed to keeping the awards free and open to all.

For the 2019 awards, the Washington Center for the Book has additional support from the Amazon Literary Partnership, which will help launch a Washington Author Tour connecting writers and readers across the state in small and rural libraries.