About the Award

TU BOOKS, the middle grade and young adult imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, award-winning publisher of children’s books, is pleased to announce the eighth annual New Visions Award. The award will be given for a middle grade or young adult novel by a writer of color or Native/Indigenous writer. Established in 2012, the NEW VISIONS AWARD encourages writers of color and Native nations to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent. Winning submissions include Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani, the recipient of an honor award from the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association; Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh, which received three starred reviews and was a Junior Library Guild selection; and Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar, which received two starred reviews and was listed as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People.


  1. The contest is open to writers of color and Native nations who are residents of the United States and at least 18 years old at the time of entry, and who have not previously had a middle grade or young adult novel traditionally published.
  2. Participants remain eligible if they have published work in other venues and genres, including children’s magazines, picture books, and adult fiction or nonfiction. Authors of self-published books are also eligible, but they should submit a new manuscript, not a project that has been previously self-published. Participants cannot have had a middle grade or young adult novel traditionally published if they’re applying for the New Visions Award.
  3. Only unagented manuscripts will be considered.
  4. Manuscripts previously submitted for this award or to TU BOOKS's general submissions will not be considered.


  1. Manuscripts should address the needs of children and teens of color and Native nations by providing stories with which they can identify and relate, and which promote a greater understanding of one another. Themes relating to LGBTQ+ topics or disabilities may also be included.
  2. Manuscripts may be fiction or narrative nonfiction for children ages 8 to 12 or young adults ages 12 to 18. We are particularly interested in literary fantasy and science fiction, but also welcome contemporary, historical, mystery, suspense, and genre fusions. Graphic novel scripts and novels in verse for these categories are also welcome. Picture books and short stories will not be accepted.
  3. Submissions should be of full, unagented manuscripts or graphic novel scripts plus synopsis.  Manuscripts/scripts should be composed in a clear 12-point font, double-spaced, saved as a Word document, accompanied by a cover letter that includes the author’s name, address, phone number, email address, brief biographical note, relevant cultural and ethnic information, how the author heard about the award, and publication history, if any.
    • Middle grade novels are not to exceed 75,000 words in length; young adult novels are not to exceed 95,000 words in length.
    • Graphic novels should not exceed 150 scripted pages. Include 6-10 pages of final art samples and optional character sketches in PDF format only if you are an author/illustrator.
  4. Submissions will not be returned.
  5. Up to two submissions per entrant. Each submission should be submitted separately.
  6. Submissions should be submitted online at Submittable in the New Visions Award category. You will receive a confirmation email stating your submission was received.
  7. Manuscripts may not be submitted to other publishers, agents, mentorship contests, writing contests, or to TU BOOKS's general submissions while under consideration for this award.
  8. TU BOOKS is not responsible for late, lost, or incorrectly delivered submissions. Be sure you leave enough time to resubmit if technical difficulties occur.

The submission window for the 2020 New Visions Award writing contest has closed. The Award and/or Honor Award winners will be notified no later than April 1, 2021. We will announce the winners on the Lee & Low blog by April 15, 2021.

The New Visions Award will reopen in May 2021.

Dates for Submission 

All submissions must be submitted between May 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020


The Award winner receives a cash prize of $2,000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first-time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000.

Announcement of the Award 

  1. Submissions will not be returned. Be sure to retain a copy of your submission.
  2. Judges are the editors of TU BOOKS and LEE & LOW BOOKS. The decision of the judges is final.
  3. Winners will be notified no later than April 1, 2021.
  4. The Award and Honor winners will be announced no later than April 15, 2021.

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2018 New Visions Award Winners
By Tu Books
Author Monica Zepeda has won the New Visions Award for her manuscript, Boys of the Beast. Michelle Jones Coles’ manuscript Woke received the New Visions Award Honor.

2017 New Visions Award Winners
By Tu Books
Author Olivia Abtahi and Luisana Duarte Armendáriz have won the fifth annual New Visions Award for their novels, Twin Flames and The Regent Enigma, respectively.

2016 New Visions Award Winners
By Tu Books
Author Charlotte Sun and Mary Louise Sanchez have won the fourth annual New Visions Award for their historical middle-grade novels, Escape from Tiananmen Square, and The Wind Called My Name, respectively.

2015 New Visions Award Winners
By Tu Books
Author Supriya Kelkar has won the third annual New Visions Award for her historical fiction novel, Ahimsa.

2014 New Visions Award Winners
By Tu Books
Author Axie Oh has won the second annual New Visions Award for her science fiction novel, The Amaterasu Project.

2013 New Visions Award Winners
By Tu Books
Author Valynne Maetani has won the first annual New Visions Award for her young adult mystery novel, Remnants of the Rising Sun.