The 2020 Sarton Competition
is now closed.
The 2021 competition will open on January 18, 2021.
Deadline: November 15, 2021
EARLY BIRD ENTRY PERIOD: January 18- July 1, 2021
The 2021 Sarton Women’s Book Awards will be presented in four categories. Entries from/about women of color and LBT+ women are welcome in all categories.
- Contemporary Fiction (novels set entirely or primarily in the 21st century)
- Historical Fiction (includes novels set in the 20th century--details #6 below)
- Nonfiction: Biography, edited diaries, studies of women’s literature
The competition is open to women authors writing chiefly about women in memoir, biography and fiction published in English in the United States and Canada. The awards are limited to submissions originally written in English and published by small/independent publishers, university presses, and author-publishers (self-publishing authors). The judging is conducted in two rounds. Professional librarians not affiliated with SCN select the winners from finalists chosen by first round jurors.
The award program is named in honor of May Sarton, who is remembered for her outstanding contributions to women’s literature as a memoirist, novelist, and poet.
Winners and finalists are announced via social media, on the Story Circle Network website, and to SCN’s extensive email list. Additionally:
- Winners are invited to attend and be honored at Stories from the Heart, the biennial SCN national conference. Winners also receive a cash prize of $100, a commemorative award, gold seals, and a virtual seal for their websites, as well as advertising in SCN’s eletters and website and a year’s membership in SCN.
- Finalists receive silver seals, a virtual seal for their websites, and a special invitation to submit a presentation to the national conference.
Guidelines for 2021
Early Bird Entry (through July 1, 2021): $90. Regular Entry (July 2– November 15, 2021): $110. (All entries include a one-year membership in Story Circle Network).
- Works in English by women authors originally published during January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2021 in the United States and Canada are eligible.
- An eligible book is published:
- by the author or authors;
- by a single-author press;
- by a university press; or
- by a small independent press. (A “small” press publishes fewer than 120 titles a year. An “independent” press is not an imprint or division of a larger publishing company.)
- By entering, you assert that the work is eligible. If you need a ruling on this, please contact us before you enter. Ineligible books will not be considered and entry fees will not be refunded.
- The book must have an ISBN. Works published as e-books only are not eligible.
- Memoirs written in collaboration are eligible if both authors experienced the events described in the narrative (for example, a mother/daughter collaboration about their lives together). Collections of individual memoirs are eligible. As-told-to memoirs (memoirs written by or with anyone other than the person or persons who experienced the events therein) are generally not eligible, although exceptions may be considered; please query before submitting.
- Novels set entirely or chiefly in the late 20th century (1950s-1990s) may be entered as contemporary or historical novels, at the author's or nominator's option.
- Not eligible at this time: Collections of fictional works by single authors and fictional works or collections of fictional works by multiple authors. Currently eligible: Memoir and nonfiction works by multiple authors.
- Anyone (author, publisher, publicist, SCN member, non-SCN member, other) may submit one or more eligible works.
- The work must be submitted in its final, reader-ready form. Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) or galleys are acceptable if bound, reader-ready books are not available to meet the November 15 deadline.
- A work may be entered in more than one year, as long as it is eligible.
- The entry submission package consists of the application form, the entry fee ($90 Early Bird; $110 thereafter), and three bound, reader-ready copies of the work. Loose manuscript pages or three-ring binders are NOT acceptable and will not be acknowledged or returned. Do not affix seals from other competitions to the covers. Promotional material will be discarded.
- The application must be completed, payment received, and books postmarked no later than November 15, 2021. If any part of the package is missing by this date, the submission is incomplete and ineligible for the current year’s contest. However, books that are received after the deadline may be held for the following year’s competition.
- The entry fee for an incomplete submission will not be returned. Incomplete submission packages will not be returned.
- If you would like to check out our rubrics (the scoring guides our jurors and judges will use to determine the winner), go here.
We subscribe to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Contest Code of Ethics:
“CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.”
Questions? Contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail: Story Circle Network, 723 W University Ave #300-234, Georgetown TX 78626