Submission Guidelines

Submissions to the 2021 Washington State Book Awards (for books published in 2020) are closed. We will begin accepting entries for the 2022 awards (for books published in 2021) on March 16, 2021.

The Washington Center for the Book presents the annual Washington State Book Awards recognizing books that exemplify the best writing in the state during a given year. The purpose of the awards is to honor outstanding books by Washington authors, to recognize a diversity of voices, and to bring attention to the quality of writing being produced in Washington.

Eligibility: Any book by an author whose current residence is in Washington state is eligible and will be considered by our judges.

Awards will be given in eight categories for the 2021 book awards (for books published in 2020):

Categories for Adult Books:

  • Biography and Memoir
  • Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction (e.g., narrative works, essays…),
  • General Nonfiction (e.g., cookbooks, gardening, guidebooks and other nonfiction books are eligible for this category)
  • Poetry

Categories for Books for Youth:

  • Picture Books
  • Books for Young Readers (ages 6 to 12; includes chapter books and middle grade)
  • Books for Young Adults (ages 13 and up)

Definition of a Washington Author: A Washington author is a writer who is a current resident of Washington state.

Selection Criteria: Books will be judged based on three criteria:

  • Quality of writing
  • Lasting importance
  • Quality of the publication (including design and production)

How to enter your book:
Complete an online submission form: This form will be available in March. It can be completed by the author or the book’s publishing representative. 

After you’ve submitted the online form, send:
Six (6) copies of each final printed title in the ADULT categories, OR
Four (4) copies of each final printed title in the YOUTH categories, to:

Washington State Book Awards
c/o Seattle Public Library
1000 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, WA   98104

Books must be received by January 15, 2021

How will I know if my books arrived?
We compare our online entries to the physical books received, and will contact you if we do not have your books! We want to be sure to get your book to the judges, and we frequently cross check online submissions with books received.

Can a book from the previous year be entered?
We will accept books only for the current awards cycle; for the 2021 awards, we accepted books published in 2020. Since the deadline to receive books is in January, it should be possible for publishers and authors to get finished copies of books to us.. 

When will finalists be announced?
Typically we announce finalists for each category in August.You will find the announcement on this website.

When will winners be announced?
Winners are typically announced in late September or early October.

Guiding Policies for Judges

Quality of Writing: Books will be judged principally on the quality of the writing. Scholarly works are eligible if they are accessible and of interest to the non-specialist reader.
Overall quality of the publication: Production of the book, presentation, and documentation will also be considered.
Category assignment: Award administrators and judges may reassign a submitted book if they see it as a better fit in another category.
Books with multiple authors: A primary author of the work must meet the definition of Washington resident.
Authors who live in Washington part time: An author who lives in Washington part of the year and considers Washington to be home is eligible.
Previous winners: The fact that an author has received an award in a prior year does not disqualify a current book by that author.
Multiple books published in one year: An author may be recognized for more than one book published in a year.
Reprints: A title that is a new or updated edition, or reprinted material (e.g., from cloth to paper), will generally not be considered unless the original edition was not considered.
Art books, photography books, or books that are primarily illustration: With the exception of children’s picture books, those works that consist primarily of depictions of artwork and artists’ statements without original commentary will generally not be considered