New Voices Award Writing Competition for Authors of Color and Native nations
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.
2018 Winner and Honor
SD Youngwolf of Moffat, Colorado is the winner of the company's nineteenth annual New Voices Award for his manuscript, The Echo People. The Echo People is the story of two children who go on a special journey with their grandfather and, through their different experiences, learn how we create our own realities through the words and actions we give to the world. Patty Cisneros Prevo of Wheat Ridge, Colorado has received the New Voices Award Honor for her picture book manuscript, Unstoppable: Thirteen Adventures Alongside Athletes with Physical Disabilities. Prevo introduces readers to a variety of modern-day athletes with physical disabilities who have overcome challenging obstacles to achieve great successes in their lives.
Read more about the 2018 winner and honor recipients.
- The contest is open to writers of color and Native nations who are residents of the United States, 18 years or older at the time of entry, and who have not previously had a children’s picture book published.
- Writers who have published work in other venues and genres, including children’s magazines, young adult, and adult fiction or nonfiction, are eligible. Only unagented submissions will be accepted.
- Work that has been published in any format, including online and self published, is not eligible.
- Manuscripts previously submitted for this award or to LEE & LOW BOOKS will not be considered.
- 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.
- Submissions may be FICTION, NONFICTION, or POETRY for children ages 5 to 12. Stories with anthropomorphic animal characters will not be considered.
- 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.
- Manuscripts should be typed double-spaced on 8-1/2” x 11” paper. A self-addressed, stamped envelope with sufficient postage must be included if you wish to have the manuscript returned.
- Up to two submissions per entrant. Each submission should be mailed separately.
- Submissions should be clearly addressed to:
LEE & LOW BOOKS
95 Madison Avenue, suite 1205
New York, NY 10016
ATTN: NEW VOICES AWARD
- Manuscripts may not be submitted to other publishers, mentorship contests, writing contests, or to LEE & LOW’s general submissions while under consideration for this award.
- LEE & LOW BOOKS is not responsible for late, lost, or incorrectly addressed or delivered submissions.
Dates for Submission
The contest is currently closed to submissions and will reopen in April 2019.
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
- The Award and/or Honor Award winners will be notified no later than December 31, 2018.
- We will announce the winners on January 22, 2019.
- The judges are the editors of LEE & LOW BOOKS. The decision of the judges is final.
- At least one Honor Award will be given each year, but LEE & LOW BOOKS reserves the right not to choose an Award winner.
- For FAQ and previous winners, visit leeandlow.com/writers-illustrators/new-voices-award.
Check out the New Voices Award Winners & Honors Collection.
Help us spread the word! Download a printable PDF of the submissions guidelines to share with writers who may be interested.