This award, made possible through the generous support of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, will be given to a new writer for a picture book written in the tradition of Ezra Jack Keats that:
Highlights the universal qualities of childhood and the strength of the family
Reflects the multicultural nature of our world
Has an original text and original story (no folk tales or retelling of folk tales)
Unifies illustrations and text
Is respectful of the child’s intelligence, sensitivity, curiosity and love of learning
Displays freshness and originality of language and literary expression
This award is given for distinguished writing and text, not for illustration. The intent of the New Writer Award is to identify and encourage early talent, and so to be eligible, the author will have no more than three children’s books previously published.
Books that have not already received awards will be given preference.
No books by committee members or their immediate families will be considered.
To be eligible, books must have a 2013 copyright date. Entries may be sent at any time during the year prior to the deadline of December 15, 2013.
A cash award of $1,000 coupled with the esteemed Ezra Jack Keats medallion inscribed with the recipient’s name will be presented to the winning author at the Keats Awards Celebration. The celebration will be held at The University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Dr., Hattiesburg, MS 39406. Further, a handsome gold seal with the image of Peter in a red snow suit from The Snowy Day is available to the publisher to affix to copies of the book. The Foundation expects that the winning book will carry the seal.
The publishers are asked to:
Be sure the books submitted meet the above criteria
Ensure and underwrite the appearance of the winning author at the award presentation, along with the editor and publishing house representative
Agree to display the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award seal on the winning book
Send a copy of each entry to all of the members of the committee
Send a copy of each entry to all of the members of the committee (Please email either Ellen.Ruffin@usm.edu or Isaac.Hudgins@usm.edu for a list of the committee members and their addresses)
Deadline for entries will be December 15, 2013. Selection will take place in February 2014. The award presentation will be in April 2014.