The WILLA Literary Awards

Honoring Books First Published in 2018
Entry deadline February 1, 2019
Application fee - $65 per entry

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WILLA Winners and Finalists,
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The WILLA Literary Award Guidelines

Exciting News! Beginning with the 2019 WILLA, we will break up the current Children’s/YA Fiction and Nonfiction Category into separate Children’s and Young Adult Fiction and Nonfiction Categories. This is so that the great differences between the two genres will be taken into account and folks who enter a children’s picture book no longer have to compete with a fully fleshed out Young Adult novel. Members, pass this along to folks you know who write these genres.

View the new catagory rubrics here:
Childrens Fiction and Nonfiction
Young Adult Fiction and Nonfiction

The WILLA Literary Awards honors the best in literature, featuring women’s or girls’ stories set in the West that are published each year. Women Writing the West (WWW), a non-profit association of writers and other professionals writing and promoting the Women’s West, underwrites and presents the nationally recognized award annually at the WWW Fall Conference. The award is named in honor of Pulitzer Prize winner Willa Cather, one of the country’s foremost novelists.

• Entries for the WILLA Literary Awards are open to all persons worldwide and are not limited to WWW members or women specifically.
• All authors or publishers of books featuring women’s or girls’ stories set in the West in any time period may enter.
• Professional librarians not affiliated with WWW select Winners and Finalists.
• Books initially published in 2018 (in any form) are eligible for the WILLA Literary Awards. ONLY books FIRST published and copyrighted in 2018 are eligible – NO exceptions.

In cases where the publication date and copyright date differ, copyright date shall prevail. EXAMPLE: A book originally published as a hardcover and released later as a trade or mass-market paperback is eligible only if the original copyright date is 2018. The book may not be entered in the Original Softcover Fiction category if it was originally published as a hardcover. Books previously released/published in ANY format (hardcover, softcover, e-book, CD, Internet download, POD, etc.) prior to 2018 are not eligible.

• E-books should be submitted in the appropriate category. Provide THREE bound, printed forms of the book. Spiral or trade paperback bindings are acceptable. Loose manuscript pages or three-ring binders are NOT acceptableand will neither be acknowledged nor returned.
• A title may only be entered in one category. EXAMPLE: A contemporary mass-market mystery may be entered in either Contemporary Fiction or Original Softcover Fiction, but not both. We strongly suggest that authors of softcover originals (mass market and trade) consider entering the Original Softcover Fiction category.
• WWW reserves the right to add or delete categories according to the entries received and to move books to another category as appropriate.
• WWW reserves the right not to name a Winner or Finalist in a category should the librarian judges feel that no book entered in that category merits a WILLA Award.
• Entries received with incomplete submission packages or postmarked after the February 1, 2019 deadline will not be acknowledged nor will any part of the package, including the entry fee, be returned.

Categories for the 2019 WILLA Literary Awards.

Please review previous Winners and Finalists in each category to get a feel for the types of books that have been
honored in past years. A list of previous Winners and Finalists can be found at www.WomenWritingthe

Contemporary Fiction: Books featuring women’s or girls’ stories set in the West in contemporary times. Softcover originals may be entered in this category as well as hardcover books.
Historical Fiction: Books featuring women’s or girls’ stories set in the West before contemporary times. Softcover originals may be entered in this category but the majority of entries are hardcover. WWW defines “historical fiction” as any story set at least 50 years prior to the publication date.
Original Softcover Fiction: This category is specifically for novels originally published in a softcover format,
trade or mass market. Books previously published in any other format are not eligible for this category. This category
draws a variety of genre books, primarily romance and mystery, as well as more mainstream historical and fiction
Creative Nonfiction: Includes autobiographical works.
• Scholarly Nonfiction: Entries in this category are typically academic or educational in nature. Scholarship, research,
organization and presentation are some of the judging criteria. Includes edited diaries, also anthologies.
Poetry: Individual collections or anthologies.
Children’s Fiction and Nonfiction: Books featuring women’s or girls’ stories set in the West, which includes women’s stories written for young readers.
Young Adult Fiction and Nonfiction: Entries can range from young adult books with mature themes to picture books and graphic novels; from fiction to nonfiction to poetry.

View the WILLA Rubrics below for help deciding which category your book fits into and criteria info. Click on the genre listed below to see if your book is eligible.

Apply Online | Download Print Application

If there are any questions please contact Carmen Peone at or by telephone at 509-722-3788