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The 2016 Florida Book Awards is Open and Accepting Submissions!

July 14, 2016

CONTACT:   Christie Koontz, Executive Director, Florida Book Awards

(850) 644-5211

– or

Andrea Dawson, Florida Book Awards Communication Director

(850) 644-5211



Deadline for Submissions is January 13, 2017.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The Florida Book Awards kicks off its eleventh annual competition with a call for entries in ten categories.

Established in 2006 and now the most comprehensive state book awards program in the nation, the contest recognizes and celebrates the year’s best books written by Sunshine State residents with the exception of submissions to the Florida Nonfiction and Visual Arts categories, whose authors may live elsewhere.

Two new categories are created—Younger Children’s Literature (approximately ages 0 – 6 and Older Children’s Literature (approximately ages 7 – 12.)  Prior to this year there was only one Children’s category ages 0 -12.  The range and volume of children’s books necessitated the change.

The Florida Book Awards competition is coordinated through the Florida State University Libraries, with the support of partner organizations from across the state. “The Florida Book Awards showcase the best of Florida’s literary talent as well spotlight the state’s fascinating history and rich natural assets,” said Florida State University Libraries Dean Julia Zimmerman.

Other contest categories include Florida Nonfiction, General Fiction, General Nonfiction, Poetry, Popular Fiction, Spanish Language, Visual Arts, and Young Adult Literature. In 2014, the “Gwen P. Reichert Gold Medal for Young Children’s Literature” was introduced, which provides a cash prize for the gold winner in the Younger Children’s Literature category. This award is in memory of Gwen P. Reichert and serves as a lasting tribute to honor her accomplishments as a rare book collector, nurturer of authors and their audience, and her commitment to children’s education.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their books into competition any time after the competition is launched, and as soon as possible after books are officially published. Entries, which can be submitted by anyone (e.g. publisher, author or literary agent), must have both a copyright date between Jan. 1, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2016, and an International Standard Book Number (ISBN).  All entries must be received no later than 5 p.m. Friday, January 13, 2016 (this is not a postmark deadline).

Three-person juries –– including members of co-sponsoring organizations, subject experts from the faculties of Florida colleges and universities, and previous Florida Book Award winners –– will choose up to three finalists in each of ten categories. In each category, the jury may award one Gold, Silver and Bronze medal.

Co-sponsors of the competition include humanities organizations from across the state such as the Florida Center for the Book; the State Library and Archives of Florida; the Florida Historical Society; the Florida Humanities Council; the Florida Literary Arts Coalition; the Florida Library Association; the Florida Association for Media in Education; the Center for Literature and Theatre @ Miami Dade College; the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America; Friends of FSU Libraries; the Florida Writers Association; the Florida Literacy Coalition; and “Just Read, Florida!”

The 2016 winners will be announced in early March 2017 and recognized at several events around the state including an awards banquet in April.

Winning books and their authors will be showcased in the summer 2017 issue of FORUM, the statewide magazine of the Florida Humanities Council, and will be featured at book festivals and association conferences throughout the year. In addition, copies of all award-winning books will be put on permanent public display in the Florida Governor’s Mansion library and in Florida State University’s Strozier Library.

For general information and the entry form, requirements, and more detailed submission instructions for the 2016 Florida Book Awards, visit


Interviews with Past Winners

July 7, 2016

Our interviews with previous winners of the Florida Book Awards are now publicly available for viewing. We have interviews with winners from 2011 through 2013. Our YouTube channel

We hope to be able to start including short videos from the winning authors on our YouTube channel. Our Florida authors deserve to be celebrated through any means possible, and we will strive to promote our winners any way we can.

Our YouTube Channel with all our videos.

Florida Book Awards Submissions from 2009 to 2015

June 23, 2016

As we prepare for our 11th year of the Florida Book Awards competition, it is good to look back and see how far we have come in the last few years. Information about our submissions from 2006-2008 is currently in paper form only;because of this we looked at how our competition has grown from 2009 to 2015.

The number of submissions we received in 2015 is more than double the number we had in 2009. We have created several new categories, and will be splitting our Children’s Literature into two different categories (Young Children and Older Juvenile) for the 2016 competition.

Change is also visible within each individual category. As the numbers of books submitted to each category vary greatly, the scales for the graphs are all different. please keep that in mind for the following graphs.

childrens FBAgenficFBAgennonficFBAnonficFBApoetryFBApopficFBAspanishFBAVisArtFBAYALitFBA

Then With all the graphs put together on the same scale, you get the following.



It’s interesting to see how the number of submissions fluctuates over the years, but our totals still show a steady growth in submissions. 2015 was a good year for books submitted in Spanish; if this quantity of submissions holds or increases we may be able to have Spanish Fiction and Spanish Nonfiction categories instead of just a general Spanish Category.

The quantity of Children’s Books submissions is why for the 2016 competition, there will now be a Young Children’s Books category and an Older Juvenile category instead of just Children’s. The Young Children’s category will be for books up to about a second grade reading level, and the Older Juvenile will go from there to about an 8th grade reading level.


Florida Book Awards 2015

May 10, 2016

The winners for the 2015 Florida Book Awards were announced March 2, 2015. Our congratulations go out to the 24 winners across 9 categories.

Our 2015 Gold medal winners are

  • Dianne Ochiltree (Children’s Literature)
  • Susan Cerulean (Florida Non-Fiction)
  • Jesse Goolsby (General Fiction)
  • Cynthia Barnett (General Non-Fiction)
  • Brandi George (Poetry)
  • Patricia Gussin (Popular Fiction)
  • Andres Pi Andreu (Spanish language)
  • Nic Stoltzfus (Visual Arts)
  • Shaun David Hutchinson (Young Adult Literature)

The 2015 Silver Medal winners are

  • Lane Fredrickson (Children’s Literature)
  • Arva Moore Parks (Florida Non-Fiction)
  • Gracie L. Chandler (General Fiction)
  • J. Matthew Gallman (General Non-fiction)
  • Donald Morrill (Poetry)
  • Marti Green (Popular Fiction)
  • Robert L. Crawford (Visual Arts)
  • Patrick Kendrick (Young Adult Literature)

The 2015 Bronze medalists are

  • Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Children’s Literature)
  • Tameka Bradley Hobbs (Florida Non-Fiction)
  • Katherine Clark (General Fiction)
  • June Melby Benowitz (General Non-Fiction)
  • Jonathan Fink (Poetry)
  • Bruce Thomason (Popular Fiction)
  • Gabriel Horn (White Deer of Autumn) (Young Adult Literature)

Their winning books can be seen at

We would also like to thank our jurors for making the difficult decisions of our winners. So thank you, Jana Fine, Mary Douglas, Carrie Kienzle, Steven Noll, Frederick Davis, Joe Knetsch, Enid Shomer, Chris Coward, Florence Turcotte, David Coburn, Ned Stuckey-French, Alyson Gamble, Craig Blais, Terry Thaxton, Steve Kistulentz, Chrissy Jackson, Veronica Hart, Shara Smock, Manuel Lopez, Dinapiera Di Donato, Susan Montgomery, Mallory O’Connor, Denise Bookwalter, Mary Maida, Katherine Kastanis, Karyn Dombrosky, and Cailey Klasson.

Their pictures and bios can be found at

Information pertaining to the 2016 Florida Book Awards competition should be available within the next 4 to 6 weeks.


2012 FBA Winner wins Pulitzer Prize

April 16, 2013

Florida State University receives many accolades in 2013 Pulitzer Prizes!

The Florida Book Awards sends many congratulations to Gilbert King, whose book Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America. 


We were delighted to welcome Gilbert to the Tallahassee to celebrate his book, which also won a 2012 Florida Book Award Gold Medal in the Florida NonFiction category for Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America.


First Lady Ann Scott welcomes Gilbert King to the Governor’s Mansion (Photo by Stacy Ferris)

The Pulitzer Committee Described the book as “a richly detailed chronicle of racial injustice in the Florida town of Groveland in 1949, involving four black men falsely accused of rape and drawing a civil rights crusader, and eventual Supreme Court justice, into the legal battle.”

Winning a Pulitzer in fiction is Adam Johnson for his novel The Orphan Master’s Son. Adam is a graduate of Florida State University’s PhD in Fiction. The fiction award drew special attention this year since no award was given last year for this category.

What a prestigious honor for both!

Florida Book Award Winners 2012 Luncheon

April 4, 2013

On March 20, First Lady Ann Scott hosted a luncheon honoring the 2012 Florida Book Awards winners at the Governor’s Mansion. 



First Lady Ann Scott welcomes Lola Haskins, winner of the Bronze Medal in Poetry for her book Grace to Leave.

Winners from across the state of Florida came to Tallahassee for the luncheon. Authors also donated a signed copy of their book to be placed in the Governor’s Mansion library.


In addition to recognizing the Florida Book Awards winners, Mrs. Scott also presented Enid Shomer with this year’s Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing for her many award-winning books. Shomer, whose most recent book The Twelve Rooms of the Nile was described as a “mesmerizing new work of historical fiction” by the Miami Herald, has published both fiction and poetry and is the first woman to receive this honor from the state. Congratulations, Enid Shomer!



First Lady Ann Scott (left) and Secretary of State Ken Detzner (right) with Enid Shomer, receiving her award for Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing.



2012 Florida Book Award Winners Announced

February 11, 2013


TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Its seventh annual competitions now complete, Florida Book Awards announces winners for books published in 2012 in eight categories of competition.  According to Co-Director Lisa Tendrich Frank, “In its seven years, the program has honored many of the Sunshine State’s best authors.  It is already the nation’s most comprehensive statewide program, and the program promises to bring more distinction to our talent-rich state.

FBA 2012 Winners by Category

Children’s Literature
Gold: Henry Cole, Unspoken (Scholastic)
Silver: Adrian Fogelin, Summer on the Moon (Peachtree Publishers)
Bronze: Dianne Ochiltree, Molly, by Golly (Boyds Mills Press)

Florida NonFiction
Gold: Gilbert King, Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America (HarperCollins)
Silver: Craig Pittman, The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World’s Most Beautiful Orchid (University Press of Florida)
Bronze: Larry Eugene Rivers, Rebels and Runaways: Slave Resistance in 19th Century Florida (University of Illinois Press)

General Fiction
Gold: Dennis Lehane, Live by Night (HarperCollins)
Silver: Janis Owens, American Ghost (Scribner)
Bronze: Mary Anna Evans, Plunder (Poisoned Pen Press)

General NonFiction
Gold: Michael Grunwald, The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era (Simon and Schuster)
Silver: William A. Link, Links: My Family in American History (University Press of Florida)
Bronze: Tracy Crow, Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine (University of Nebraska Press)

Gold: Campbell McGrath, In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys (HarperCollins)
Silver: Terri Witek, Exit Island (Orchises Press)
Bronze: Lola Haskins, Grace to Leave (Anhinga Press)

Popular Fiction
Gold: DJ Niko, The Tenth Saint (Medallion Press)
Silver: Michael Lister, Blood Sacrifice (Pulpwood Press)
Bronze: Mary Anna Evans, Plunder (Poisoned Pen Press)

Visual Arts
Gold: Lu Vickers and Bonnie Georgiadis, Weeki Wachee Mermaids (University Press of Florida)
Silver: Robert L. Crawford and William R. Brueckheimer, The Legacy of a Red Hills Hunting Plantation (University Press of Florida)
Bronze:  Gary Libby, Reflections II:  Watercolors of Florida 1835-2000 (Museum of Arts and Science)

Young Adult
Gold: Laura Lascarso, Counting Backwards (Simon and Schuster)
Silver: Carl Hiaasen, Chomp (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Bronze: Alex Flinn, Bewitching (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

The Florida Book Awards –the nation’s most comprehensive state book awards program– was established in 2006 to recognize, honor, and celebrate the best Florida literature published the previous year.  It is coordinated by The Florida State University Libraries, and co-sponsored by the Florida Center for the Book, State Library and Archives of Florida, Florida Historical Society, Florida Humanities Council, Florida Literary Arts Coalition, Florida Library Association, “Just Read, Florida!,” Florida Family Literacy Initiative, Florida Association for Media in Education, Florida Center for the Literary Arts, the Friends of FSU Libraries, Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, and the Florida Writers Association.

The eight Gold Medal Winners will  be recognized on March 20th at the Historical and Cultural Awards Ceremony sponsored by the State of Florida’s Division of Cultural Affairs. All award recipients will be recognized at the a banquet held at Mission San Luis March 19 in Tallahassee.

To learn more about Florida Book Awards, visit: