The 2021 Sarton Awards and the Gilda Prize
Deadline: November 15, 2021
EARLY BIRD ENTRY PERIOD: through August 1, 2021
The Sarton Women’s Book Awards are named in honor of May Sarton, who is remembered for her outstanding contributions to women’s literature as a memoirist, novelist, and poet. They are granted in four categories: Memoir; Contemporary Fiction (novels set entirely or primarily in the 21st century); Historical Fiction (includes novels set in the 20th century—#8 below); Nonfiction: Biography, edited diaries, studies of women’s literature.
The Gilda Prize: “It’s Always Something” is named for Gilda Radner, whose comedic performances made her an entertainment legend and whose courage won our hearts. It is awarded for memoir and collections of personal essays that show us something important about the human spirit and make us laugh (even if we want to cry).
Both competitions are open to women authors whose work is published in the United States and Canada. The awards are limited to submissions originally written in English and published by author-publishers (self-publishing authors) and independent publishers (that is, not an imprint of a larger press) and university presses with editorial offices headquartered in North America. Entries from/about women of color and LBT+ women are welcome in all categories. Debut authors are especially encouraged. Professional librarians not affiliated with SCN select the winners from finalists chosen by first round jurors. Winners and finalists will be announced in April, 2022 via social media, on the Story Circle Network website, and to SCN’s extensive email list.
- Winners 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. Winners are also invited to attend and be honored at Stories from the Heart, SCN’s national conference (virtual or onsite).
- Finalists receive silver seals, a virtual seal for their websites.
Guidelines for 2021
The Sarton Women’s Book Awards and the Gilda Prize
Early Bird Entry (through August 1, 2021): $90. Regular Entry (August 2– November 15, 2021): $110. (All entries include a one-year membership in Story Circle Network).
The entry submission package consists of the application form, the entry fee ($90 Early Bird; $110 thereafter), and either 1) three bound, reader-ready copies or 2) an electronic copy (.mobi/AZW3 file format) of the work.
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.
1. Works in English by women authors originally published during January 1, 2018 – December 31, 2021 in the United States and Canada are eligible.
2. An eligible book is published:
a. by the author or authors;
b. by a single-author press;
c. by a university press; or
d. by an independent press.
3. Ineligible: books published by large publishers Amazon Publishing, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House (including Sourcebooks), Simon & Schuster, and their imprints, as well as publishers headquartered outside the U.S. and Canada. The publisher’s eligibility is determined at the time the book is entered into the competition.
4. 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.
5. Works published as e-books only are not eligible. The book must be currently available in print.
6. 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.
7. If your novel is set entirely or chiefly in the late 20th century (1950s-1990s), you may enter it as either a contemporary or historical novel. Sarton coordinators reserve the right to change this designation if appropriate.
8. 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.
9. Anyone (author, publisher, publicist, SCN member, non-SCN member, other) may submit one or more eligible works.
10. The work must be submitted in its final, reader-ready form. Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) or galleys are acceptable if reader-ready copies of the eligible work are not available to meet the November 15 deadline. A complete entry consists of THREE copies or a .mobi (ebook) file. Do not enclose promotional material.
11. Mailing and entry confirmation. Package books to withstand rough, cross-country postal handling. Bubble-lined poly mailer or box is preferred. Do NOT send signature-required. We do not notify entrants that their books have been received. If you wish to confirm receipt of your entry, enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard. To be fair to all entrants, inquiries concerning receipt will not be answered.
12. The entry fee for an incomplete submission will not be returned. Incomplete submission packages will not be returned.
13. A work may be entered in more than one year, as long as it is eligible.
14. An award will not be made if the judges deem that no entry merits it.
If you would like to check out our rubrics (the scoring guides our jurors and judges use to help 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