The Colorado Book Awards is an annual program that celebrates the accomplishments of Colorado's outstanding authors, editors, illustrators, and photographers. Awards are presented in at least ten categories including anthology/collection, children's literature, creative nonfiction, general fiction, general nonfiction, genre fiction, history, pictorial, poetry, and young adult literature.

We are now closed for submissions for the 2019 Colorado Book Awards.

To be eligible for a Colorado Book Award, a primary contributor to the book must be a Colorado writer, editor, illustrator, or photographer. Current Colorado residents are eligible, as are individuals engaged in ongoing literary work in the state and authors whose personal history, identity, and literary work reflect a strong Colorado influence. Authors who are not currently Colorado residents but feel their work is inspired by or connected to Colorado should submit a letter with his or her entry describing the connection. Independently published work is welcome. All submitted books must have a printed ISBN, and we strongly recommend that books be professionally edited. Reprinted editions or books previously published in another form do not qualify.

Submissions for the 2019 Colorado Book Awards are welcomed for books published in the previous calendar year or October, November, or Decembe of the prior year. A $53 entry fee payable by check or credit card and seven copies of the book are due with each online entry form.

For more information, contact Bess Maher, 303.894.7951 x19, fax 303.864.9361,

Colorado Book Award Adjudication Process

Colorado Book Award winners are chosen in two rounds of adjudication. In the first round, three selectors work together to choose three category finalists out of all books submitted in that category, using rubric sheets we provide. In the second round, three judges work together to choose the winner in that category, using the same rubric sheets. The rubric sheets guide selectors and judges to rate the book on general criteria and category criteria. Examples of "general criteria" that apply to most categories include quality of writing, appeal to a broad audience, and originality in writing. "Category criteria" include factors specific to that genre. For instance, general fiction criteria includes voice, mastery of literary convention, and plot.

Selectors and judges read the books in isolation (i.e., without conferring with each other or anyone else) and after all selectors and judges have completed reading and rating, they engage in group discussions and negotiations.

A facilitator may be appointed to the committee. The facilitator guides selectors and judges through the process and leads the committee discussions. In lieu of a facilitator, the Colorado Book Awards program coordinator will serve this role. Selectors and judges are asked to come prepared to both contribute and listen in a civil discussion, demonstrating respect for fellow selectors and judges, authors, and publishers. Information about which books were entered and all discussions about entries are considered strictly confidential.

We do not make public our volunteer selectors and judges for each year and category and we ask them to maintain confidentiality about their volunteer service and recuse themselves if they have a conflict of interest. We do not allow our staff or board members to serve as selectors or judges. They are invited from dedicated librarians, historians, writers, editors, teachers, artists, photographers, and readers — and former Colorado Book Awards entrants, finalists, and winners — who apply to be selectors and judges. They contribute topical expertise, academic knowledge, and industry experience.

Colorado Book Award Audio Recordings

2017 Finalist Reading Series

Friday, April 14, 7:00 p.m., BookBar Denver
Science Fiction and Fantasy, Sleeper Protocol by Kevin Ikenberry, Lost Time by D. L. Orton, and Amaryllis and Other Stories by Carrie Vaughn
Mystery, Stalking Ground by Margaret Mizushima and Blood on the Tracks by Barbara Nickless
Thriller, DED Reckoning: Vengeance Takes a Road Trip by Larry "Animal" Garner, The Coalition by Samuel Marquis, and Revelation by Carter Wilson

2016 Lit Crawl Reading

Friday, September 2, 6 p.m., Mermaid Fine Books, Denver
Literary Fiction, How To Walk Away by Lisa Birman
Short Story Collection, Night in Erg Chebbi and Other Stories by Edward Hamlin
Young Adult Literature, Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz
General Nonfiction, Rust: The Longest War by Jonathan Waldman

2016 Finalist Reading Series

Friday, May 6, 7 p.m. BookBar Denver
Historical Fiction, And The Wind Whispered by Dan Jorgensen
History, Colorado: A Historical Atlas by Thomas J. Noel and Old Blue's Road: A Historian's Motorcycle Journeys in the American West by James Whiteside
Short Story Collection, Night in Erg Chebbi and Other Stories by Edward Hamlin and The Skull of Pancho Villa and Other Stories by Manuel Ramos

Sunday, April 10, 4:30 p.m., BookBar Denver
Young Adult Literature, Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz and Audacity by Melanie Crowder
Juvenile Literature, Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by Judith Robbins Rose

Friday, April 15, 7 p.m., BookBar Denver
Mystery, The Reckoning Stones by Laura DiSilverio 
Science Fiction/Fantasy, Lord Byron's Prophecy by Sean Eads
Thriller, The Comfort of Black by Carter Wilson and Dark Waters: A Thriller by Chris Goff

Thursday, April 24, 4:30 p.m., BookBar Denver
Children's Literature, Do Princesses Make Happy Campers? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle, illustrated by Mike Gordon and Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop! by Todd Tuell, illustrated by Tad Carpenter


Thank you!

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