NeMLA Annual Book Award

book award.

NeMLA awards two Book Prizes every year for:

  • the best unpublished book-length manuscript on any of NeMLA's focal literatures, languages, media, or cultures
  • the best unpublished fiction book in English

Manuscripts cannot be under review at a press.

On this page:

Application Process

For consideration, please email the following to by December 1.

  • A copy of the manuscript
  • An overview of the proposed book (2 to 3 single-spaced pages)
  • A round-up of competing books 
  • A brief explanation of the uniqueness of the proposed project

The NeMLA book committee may opt not to give an award any given year if the manuscripts are not ready for publication.

The prizes include: 

  • A $500 cash prize
  • NeMLA's assistance with contacting presses about the publication of their manuscripts (at the winners' discretion).

The winners will be announced at the Sunday membership business meeting at NeMLA's annual convention.


  • The authors must be current NeMLA members with a demonstrated commitment to NeMLA (a convention participant, or a member for at least one year in the last five years). 
  • Manuscripts must be written in English.
  • Unrevised dissertations and MA theses will not be considered for this award.
  • Manuscripts under review or under contract with a publisher will not be considered for this award.

Creative Writing Judge


Professor Jean McGarry is Elliott Coleman Professor at John Hopkins University and the author of nine books of fiction, among them the novel The Courage of Girls (Rutgers University Press) and the short story collection Dream Date (JHU Press). Her 2006 novel, A Bad and Stupid Girl (University of Michigan Press), received the University of Michigan Fiction Prize.  Her most recent book, No Harm Done, a collection of stories, was published in 2017 by Dalkey Archive Press. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Yale Review, Boulevard, The Southwest Review, and others.


Past Book Award Winners

2022, in fiction: Patrick Thomas Henry, University of North Dakota
Practice for Becoming a Ghost: Stories

  • Runner-Up: Allison Brooks, Kent State University, Great Grandma’s Grimoire

2021: Matthew Kilbane, Cornell University
The Lyre Book: Modern Poetic Media

2020: Amanda Lagji, Pitzer College
Waiting for Now. Postcolonial Fiction and Colonial Time (2020)

  • Honorable Mention: Syrrina Haque, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore, Dialogue on Partition: Literature Knows No Borders

2019: Mary C. Foltz, Lehigh University
American Sh*t: Contemporary American Literature and Excremental Culture

2018: Amy Paeth, University of Pennsylvania
State vs. Culture

  • Honorable Mention: Stephen Zimmerly, University of Indianapolis, The Sidekick Comes of Age

2017: Regina Galasso, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Translating New York: The City's Languages in Iberian Literatures

Co-winner Katie Daily-Bruckner, United States Military Academy
Who Am I With? Rejection and Disaffiliation in Twenty-First Century Immigration Narratives

2015: Ian Thomas Fleishman, University of Pennsylvania
An Aesthetics of Injury: The Narrative Wound from Baudelaire to Tarantino

2014: Bartholomew Brinkman, Framingham State University
Poetic Modernism in the Culture of Mass Print

2013: Lee Manion, University of Missouri
Narrating the Crusades: Loss and Recovery in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature

2012: Colleen Kennedy-Karpat, Bilkent University
Rogues, Romance, and Race: Exoticism in French Fiction Cinema, 1930-1939

2011: Daniel Brayton, Middlebury College
Shakespeare’s Global Ocean: Ecocriticism and the Marine Environment

2010: Carey Kasten, Fordham University
Traditional Iconoclasm: The Auto Sacramental in Twentieth-Century Spain

2009: Kristin J. Jacobson, Stockton College
Domestic Geographies: Neodomestic American Fiction
(now Neodomestic American Fiction details)

Erin Hurley, McGill University
National Mimesis: Figuring Performance-Nation Relations in Quebec
(now National Performance: Representing Quebec from Expo 67 to Céline Dion)

2006: Annette Levine, Ithaca College
Cry for Me Argentina: The Performance of Trauma in the Short Narrative of Aida Bortnik, Griselda Gambaro, and Tuana Mercado

Jennifer A. Zachman, Saint Mary’s College
Playing Gender on the Contemporary Spanish Stage

Julia M. Wright, Wilfrid Laurier University
Blake, Nationalism and the Politics of Alienation

1999: Michael West, University of Pittsburgh
Transcendental Wordplay: America’s Romantic Punsters and the Search for the Language of Nature

1991: Elzbieta Sklodowska, Washington University in St. Louis
Testimonio hispanoamericano

1990: Tom Peterson, University of Georgia
Paraphrase of an Imaginary Dialogue

1988: Janet Groth, Plattsburgh State University of New York
Edmund Wilson: A Critic for Our Time