Submissions Open for Innovations in Reading Prize

Literature lovers around the world have created a number of ways to ignite a fiery love of reading in people everywhere. There have been a number of efforts to make books more accessible globally – from World Book Night’s book giveaways, to the social media campaign #ReadDiverse2016, to a vending machine that lets readers swap unwanted gifts for books. Back in 2009, The National Book Foundation created the Innovations in Reading (IIR) prize, a $10,000 award given to a person or group who thinks up an attainable, long-lasting, and original program that instills a “lifelong love of reading.” Essentially, the winner will create an innovative way to inspire people to pick up a book and want to read, time and time again. Four honorable mentions will be selected as well. 

Last year’s winners and honorable mentions of the IIR prize will speak at Why Reading Matters: Engaging with Literary Activism Across the Globe, a National Book Foundation event. The keynote speaker and last year’s prize winner, Mark Hecker, is executive director of Reach Incorporated, which hires struggling teens to tutor elementary school students. The live panel event will address a number of questions based on reading activism and empowering diverse populations through such initiatives as IIR. 

Mark Hecker of Reach Incorporated

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According to the National Book Foundation’s website, applicants should “share our mission to expand the audience for Literature in America.” Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, Harold Augenbraum, stated that past winners “have shown that reading has extraordinary benefits for just about any community, including families of soldiers deployed overseas, incarcerated youth, homeless populations, and small town neighborhoods.” 

For information on eligibility, requirements, and more, check out their website here.

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