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About The Award

The New Voices Award is given annually by children's book publisher Lee & Low Books for a children’s picture book manuscript by a writer of color or Native/Indigenous writer.

Established in 2000, the New Voices Award encourages writers of color and Native nations to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent. Past New Voices Award submissions we have published include The Blue Roses, winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People; Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story, a Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist selection; and It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw, winner of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Honor. 

2019 Winner and Honor

Alana Tyson of Alexandria, Virginia, is the winner of the company’s twentieth annual New Voices Award. Her picture book manuscript, The Longest Swim, is the biography of William Goines and his journey to becoming the first African American Navy SEAL. Belen Medina Cabot of San Francisco, California, will receive the New Voices Award Honor for her picture-book manuscript The Seesaws. Inspired by current events, Belen’s story follows two children who live on either side of the United States-Mexico border and the creative solution that allows them to play together.

Read more about the 2019 winner and honor recipients.

Eligibility

  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 children’s picture book traditionally published.
  2. Participants remain eligible if they have published work in other venues and genres, including children’s magazines, middle-grade and young adult fiction or nonfiction, 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. Writers cannot have had a picture book traditionally published if they’re applying for the New Voices Award.
  3. Only unagented manuscripts will be considered.    
  4. Manuscripts previously submitted for this award or to LEE & LOW BOOKS’ general submissions will not be considered. 

Submissions 

  1. Manuscripts should address the needs of children 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 non-traditional family structures, gender identity, or disabilities may also be included.  
  2. Submissions may be FICTION, NONFICTION, or POETRY for children ages 5 to 12. Only stories with human protagonists will be considered.
  3. Manuscripts should be no more than 1500 words in length and 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.
  4. Manuscripts should be typed double-spaced.
  5. Up to two submissions per entrant. Each submission should be submitted separately.  
  6. The manuscript you submit to the New Voices contest may not be submitted to other publishers, agents, mentorship contests, writing contests, or to LEE & LOW’s general submissions while under consideration for this award. 
  7. LEE & LOW BOOKS is not responsible for late, lost, or incorrectly submitted manuscripts.

To submit a manuscript to the New Voices Award, please use the link below to access and complete the New Voices Award Submission Form. You will receive a confirmation email once you have successfully submitted your manuscript to the contest.

CLICK HERE FOR THE NEW VOICES AWARD SUBMISSION FORM

Dates for Submission 

All submissions must be submitted between May 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020 11:59 p.m. EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)

Prize

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. The Award and/or Honor Award winners will be notified no later than December 31, 2020. 
  2. We will announce the winners by January 19, 2021.
  3. The judges are the editors of LEE & LOW BOOKS. The decision of the judges is final. 
  4. At least one Honor Award will be given each year, but LEE & LOW BOOKS reserves the right not to choose an Award winner. 
  5. For FAQ and previous winners, visit leeandlow.com/writers-illustrators/new-voices-award.

Check out the New Voices Award Winners & Honors Collection.

 

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Articles

2019 New Voices Award Winner
By Lee & Low Books
Alana Tyson of Alexandria, Virginia, is the winner of the company’s twentieth annual New Voices Award.

2018 New Voices Award Winner
By Lee & Low Books
SD Youngwolf of Moffat, Colorado is the winner of Lee & Low's 2018 New Voices Award.

2017 New Voices Award Winner
By Lee & Low Books
Maham Khwaja of West Hollywood, California is the winner of the company’s eighteenth annual New Voices Award.

2016 New Voices Award Winner
By Lee & Low Books
Roberto Peñas of Olathe, Kansas is the winner of Lee & Low Books' seventeenth annual New Voices Award writing contest.

2015 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Lisa Brathwaite of Stone Mountain, Georgia is the winner of our sixteenth annual New Voices Award.

2014 New Voices Award Winner
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Andrea J. Loney of Inglewood, California, is the winner of the company’s fifteenth annual New Voices Award.

2013 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Sylvia Liu of Virginia Beach, Virginia is the winner of our fourteenth annual New Voices Award.

2012 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Rita Lorraine Hubbard of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the winner of our thirteenth annual New Voices Award.

2011 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Jennifer A. Torres of Stockton, California, is the winner of our twelfth annual New Voices Award.

2010 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Jane Bahk of Alameda, California, is the winner of our eleventh annual New Voices Award.

2009 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Tiare Williams Solorzano of Citrus Heights, California, is the Honor winner of our tenth annual New Voices Award.

2008 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Hayan Charara of Houston, Texas, is the Honor winner of our ninth annual New Voices Award.

2007 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Pamela M. Tuck of Boyertown, Pennsylvania, is the winner of our eighth annual New Voices Award.

2006 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Glenda Armand Sheppard of West Covina, California, is winner of our seventh Annual New Voices Award

2005 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Don Tate of Austin, Texas and Zetta Elliot of Baton Rouge, Louisiana have been chosen as our two Honor winners for the Sixth Annual New Voices Award.

2004 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Carmen Bogan of Oakland, California, is the Honor winner of our fifth annual New Voices Award.

2003 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Paula Yoo of Los Angeles, California, is the winner of our fourth annual New Voices Award.

2002 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Adrienne Lorraine Bayton of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the winner of our third annual New Voices Honor Award.

2001 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Patricia Smith of Tarrytown, New York, is the winner of our second annual New Voices Award.

2000 New Voices Award Winners
By LEE & LOW BOOKS
Linda Boyden of Pukalani, Hawaii, is the winner of our first annual New Voices Award.