In cooperation with other groups and with an aim to promote interest in the state’s literature, we annually conduct a number of competitions for North Carolina.
Please scroll down for award eligibility and application information.
Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction
|Given for achievement in non-fiction, this award honors Sam Ragan, poet, critic, publisher, and the first secretary of the present North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.||
Established in 2003 as the successor to the Mayflower Cup, which in turn was successor to the Patterson Cup.
|N.C. Literary and Historical Association|
Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry
|Awarded in recognition of the most significant work of original poetry published over the course of the last year by a North Carolina poet.||Awarded since 1953.||Roanoke-Chowan Group of Writers and Allied Artists|
Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction
|Awarded in recognition of the most significant work of original fiction writing published over the course of the last year by a North Carolina author.||Awarded since 1953.||Historical Book Club of North Carolina|
American Association of University Women of NC Young People’s Literature Award
|Awarded in recognition of the most significant work of original literature for young readers published over the course of the last year by a North Carolina author.||Awarded since 1953.||American Association of University Women of North Carolina|
|Hardee Rives Award for Dramatic Arts||Awarded in recognition of excellent, exemplary work in and significant contribution and service to the dramatic arts in North Carolina.||Awarded since 2009.||N.C. Literary and Historical Association.|
|Mary Ruffin Poole Award for First Work of Fiction||No longer given, this award recognized an outstanding debut work of fiction and its author.||Awarded from 1999 to 2002.||Poole Foundation|
|Christopher Crittenden Memorial Award||This award recognizes significant contributions by an individual or organization to the preservation of North Carolina history.||Awarded since 1970.||N.C. Literary and Historical Association|
|R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award||This award acknowledges significant contributions to the literary life of North Carolina.||Awarded since 1987.||N.C. Literary and Historical Association|
|R. D. W. Connor Award||This award is presented for the best article that appeared in the North Carolina Historical Review in the preceding year.||Awarded since 1953.||Historical Society of North Carolina|
|Hugh T. Lefler Award||This award is presented for the best paper in history by an undergraduate student.||Awarded since 1953.||Historical Society of North Carolina|
A database of past winners and, if applicable, the works for which they were honored, is available online.
For a work to be eligible for consideration for these competitions:
- It must be an original book published during the 12 months ending June 30 of the year for which the award is given (between June 30, 2022, and June 30, 2023, for the 2023 awards cycle);
- Its author(s) must have maintained legal or physical residence, or a combination of both, in North Carolina for the three years preceding the close of the contest period; and
- Three (3) copies of each entry must be submitted to the Awards Coordinator for the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association no later than July 15 of the year for which the award is given. (The submission period for the 2023 book awards is now closed.)
In reaching a decision, members of each panel of judges will consider creative and imaginative quality, excellence of style, the universality of appeal, and relevance to North Carolina and her people.
For the Ragan Old North State Award, the extent to which the author has covered the subject, made use of all available source materials, given a well-balanced presentation, and accomplished the purpose the author set out to achieve also will be considered. Technical and scientific works are not eligible. All works will be judged without regard to length.
In the fiction category (the Sir Walter Raleigh Award), self-published and subsidy-published works will not be considered.
Nominations should include the name of the award, publication title, name of the author, and confirmation of the residence requirement. Nominations can be sent by email to Parker Backstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for receipt of nominated books each year is July 15. Books should be mailed to NCLHA Book Awards, Attn: Parker Backstrom, 4610 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-4610 or, if by overnight carrier, to 109 E. Jones Street, Raleigh, N.C. 27601-2807.
Student Publication Awards
The committee is not accepting submissions for student publications awards for the current awards cycle. Please continue to check back for any updates.