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2019 Florida Book Awards competition opens with call for entries

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Florida Book Awards kicks off its 14th annual competition with a call for entries in 11 categories.

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

Established in 2006, the Florida Book Awards is the most comprehensive state book awards program in the nation. The contest recognizes and celebrates the year’s best books written by Sunshine State residents, with the exception of submissions to the Florida Nonfiction and Visual Arts categories, whose authors may live elsewhere.

Contest categories include Florida Nonfiction, General Fiction, General Nonfiction, Poetry, Popular Fiction, Spanish Language, Visual Arts, Young Adult Literature, Younger Children’s Literature (ages 0-6), Older Children’s Literature (ages 7-12) and Cookbooks.

In 2014, the Gwen P. Reichert Gold Medal for Young Children’s Literature was introduced, providing a cash prize for the gold winner in the Younger 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, her dedication to nurturing authors and their audience, and her commitment to children’s education.

The Richard E. Rice Gold Medal Prize for Visual Arts and the Phillip and Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal Prize for Florida Nonfiction were introduced in 2016.

The Richard E. Rice Gold Medal Prize for Visual Arts supports a $500 prize for the Visual Arts Gold Medal Winner of the Florida Book Awards and serves as tribute to Richard E. Rice, who suffered from life-altering arthritis since childhood and spent a large amount of time in the hospital. From his hospital room, Rice discovered his artistic talent at the age of four and became a lifelong artist. Creating artwork offered Rice comfort, strength and joy, and this prize honors his talent and his commitment to art and to celebrate art and artists.

The Phillip and Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal Prize for Florida Nonfiction provides a $500 prize for the Gold Medal Winner of this category and serves as a tribute to the donor’s parents, Phillip and Dana Zimmerman, recognizing their deep roots in Florida and their love of Florida’s rich history and culture.

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, must be published between Jan. 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2019, and have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). All entries must be received no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 (this is not a postmark deadline).

Two or 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 11 categories. The jury may award one Gold, Silver and Bronze medal in each category.

Co-sponsors of the competition include humanities organizations from across the state, such as the State Library and Archives of Florida, the Florida Library Association, the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, Friends of FSU Libraries and the Florida Humanities Council.

The 2019 winners will be announced in March 2020 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 2020 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 detailed submission instructions, visit

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