National Book Awards’s New Criteria to Include Non-U.S. Citizens

Let’s take a look at the new changes the National Book Foundation has added to include more authors in their award submissions.

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With the celebration of literature across the United States at the forefront of the National Book Foundation, changes have been made to include and award a wider scope of writers who create stories here in the US. This criteria has been years in the making and is now being implemented for the first time for 2024 submissions to the National Book Awards.

The Goal

The mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best literature published in the United States, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in our culture.”

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With this mission in mind, the National Book Foundation has opened submissions to the Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature categories to authors who hold US citizenship or maintain their primary, long-term home in the United States, US territories, or Tribal lands. Immigration status will not be a factor that bars authors from submitting their work.

The Process

These new criteria weren’t just added out of the blue but rather were a long process that started in 2018. While the National Book Foundation had prior specific citizenship requirements, a large number of submissions were coming in from non-U.S. citizens. With this kind of growth, the foundation needed to find a way to include all authors.

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When you compare the new criteria of this year’s submissions to the National Book Foundation’s initial questions to publishers about their authors in 2018, the Foundation was able to stay in line with their initial petition. For example, the Foundation asked if authors had lived in the U.S. for 10 years or longer, which can be easily seen as the Foundation’s new criteria of including authors maintaining their primary, long-term home in the United States, US territories, or Tribal lands.

At its core, the Foundation seeks to find the best of the best stories here in the U.S. With the expansion of criteria, there will hopefully be even more authors who get to share their words and stories.


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