THE WILLA LITERARY AWARD
The WILLA Literary Awards honor 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 nonprofit 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.
The Entry Deadline for the 2020 WILLA Literary Award was February 1, 2020
Winners and Finalists will be announced in August, 2020, and honored at the 26th Annual Conference, in Colorado Springs, CO.
October 15 – 18, 2020
2019 WILLA LITERARY AWARD WINNERS
(left to right) 2019 WILLA Chair Carmen Peone; Young Adult Fiction Winner, Theresa Verboort; Children’s Fiction and Nonfiction Winner, Sanda Dallas; Poetry Winner, Linda Schandelmier; Historical Fiction Winner, Elizabeth Crook.
2019 WILLA LITERARY AWARD FINALISTS
(Left to right) 2019 WILLA Chair, Carmen Peone; Historical Fiction, Sandra Dallas; Scholarly Nonfiction, Barbara Love; Contemporary Fiction, Juni Fisher; Original Softcover, Milana Marsenich
2019 WILLA LITERARY AWARDS WERE PRESENTED AT THE 25TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE
IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, OCTOBER 10 – 13, 2019
WINNER – The Flicker of Old Dreams by Susan Henderson
FINALIST – Girls from Centro by Juni Fisher
FINALIST – Burning Ridge: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery by Margaret Mizushima
Crooked Lane Books
WINNER – The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook
Little, Brown and Company
FINALIST – The Removes by Tatjana Soli
Sarah Crichton Books/FSG
FINALIST – The Patchwork Bride by Sandra Dallas
St. Martin’s Press
ORIGINAL SOFTCOVER FICTION
WINNER – See Also Proof: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery by Larry D. Sweazy
Seventh Street Books
FINALIST – Found Documents from the Life of Nell Johnson Doerr: A Novel
by Thomas Fox Averill
University of New Mexico Press
FINALIST – The Swan Keeper by Milana Marsenich
WINNER – My Ranch, Too: A Wyoming Memoir by Mary Budd Flitner
University of Oklahoma Press
FINALIST – Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living by Karen Auvinen
Scribner / Simon & Schuster
FINALIST – Raw Material: Working Wool in the West by Stephany Wilkes
Oregon State University Press
WINNER – Beyond the Rebel Girl: Women and the Industrial Workers of the World in the Pacific Northwest, 1905-1924 by Heather Mayer
Oregon State University Press
FINALIST – Life on Muskrat Creek: A Homestead Family in Wyoming by Ethel Waxham Love and J. David Love
Lehigh University Press
WINNER – Coming Out of Nowhere: Alaska Homestead Poems by Linda Schandelmeier
University of Alaska Press
FINALIST – Flatlands by Ruth Williams
Black Lawrence Press
FINALIST – The Slow Art by Sierra Golden
Bear Star Press
CHILDREN’S FICTION & NONFICTION
WINNER – Hardscrabble by Sandra Dallas
Sleeping Bear Press
FINALIST – The Wind Called My Name by Mary Louise Sanchez
Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books
FINALIST: – The Last Grand Adventure by Rebecca Behrens
Simon & Schuster / Aladdin
YOUNG ADULT FICTION AND NONFICTION
WINNER – The Communing Tree by Theresa Verboort
FINALIST – Becoming Beatrice by Frances Wood
Blue Heron Press
FINALIST – Apple in the Middle by Dawn Quigley
North Dakota State University Press
Previous WILLA Literary Award
Winners and Finalists
View the WILLA Literary Award Rubrics below for help deciding which category your book fits into and for criteria info.
Click on the genre listed below to see if your book is eligible.
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.
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. This category draws a variety of genre books, primarily romance and mystery, as well as more mainstream historical and fiction novels.
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.
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.
WILLA Literary Award Guidelines
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 2019. 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 2019 are not eligible.
APPLICATION PERIOD FOR THE WILLA LITERARY AWARD IS NOW CLOSED
Honoring Books First Published in 2019
Entry deadline February 1, 2020
Application fee – $65 per entry
Winners and Finalists will be announced in August, and Awards presented at the 26th Annual Conference in Colorado Springs, CO, on October 15 – 18, 2020.
Questions? Please contact WILLA Chair Cindy Sandell at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by telephone at 972-867-4160.
DONATE TO THE WILLA AWARD FUND
Your generous donation supports the annual WILLA Literary Award writing contest.
Donations of any amount are accepted throughout the year and are tax deductible!