Hurston/Wright Foundation | Book Submissions
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Legacy Award

Submission Guidelines

Submission Period September –  December, 2017

Deadline Friday, December 15th


  • The Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards are open to Black writers in America and across the globe.
  • Full-length books of debut fiction, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as collections of short stories, and collections of essays by one author. (All works must be newly published. E-books are not eligible.)
  • Books published in the United States, including translations of books by Black writers published in the U.S. and U.S. editions of foreign books published for the first time in the United States.
  • Books by a self-published author.
  • An English translation of a book originally written in another language by a Black writer. The translator need not be a Black author.
  • Books with a publication date within the calendar year in which the application is being submitted.
  • Submissions postmarked for the Hurston/Wright Foundation office by December 15th.
  • Previous Legacy Award winners and nominees and college writing awardees.
  • Bound galleys from publishing houses, as long as the release date is within the specified dates of submission.


  • Books written by more than one author.
  • Poetry books with fewer than 50 pages.
  • Retrospectives or collections of previously published work.
  • E-books.
  • Reprints of books published in a previous year.
  • Submissions postmarked after the December 15th
  • Books by board members and staff of the Hurston/Wright Foundation and their family members.
  • Books by a judge for that year’s competition or a family member of the judge.
  • Photography books, cook books and travel books.
  • Genre fiction (such as commercial, romance and mystery works) and children’s books, unless the work has been recognized by the literary industry as transcending genre.


A panel of previous Legacy Award honorees will judge submissions in each genre. ​

Debut Fiction: a first novel by a Black writer

Fiction: Novel, Novella, or Short Story Collection

Nonfiction: Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, History, Social Issues, Literary Criticism

Poetry: Books In Verse, Prose Poetry, Formal Verse, Experimental Verse


More than 100 books are submitted for the competition, but the number of entries vary from year to year. Hurston/Wright staff review incoming submissions to ensure they meet the qualifications as outlined. Books that do not meet the criteria are not sent to the judges. Staff reserves the right to adjust the category of a submission as necessary. Submitters will be notified of any change in submission category.


  • Include with each application a $40 nonrefundable submission fee. One application and fee per title. If payment cannot be made online, a check and invoice should be included with submission that is mailed to the foundation’s office.
  • Books must be submitted by the publisher; self-published authors may submit their books.
  • The Hurston/Wright Foundation reserves the right to inquire about specific titles for, but does so to ensure that Black authors who receive major reviews or appear on best-seller lists are included. No inquiries will be made after the submission deadline closes.
  • The submission period opens September 1st and closes in mid-December.
  • Nominations are announced in June in advance of the Legacy Awards. Winners & finalists are announced at the annual Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Ceremony.
  • The author of a Legacy nominated book or a representative is expected to attend the awards ceremony.
  • Non-winning entries will be donated to a university or nonprofit organization.

How to Apply

  • Complete online application including $40 submission fee paid via PayPal or credit card
  • Mail four copies of each title submitted to:

​Hurston/Wright Legacy Award
840 First Street, NE, Third Floor
Washington, DC 20002