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Bellwether Prize Information

The Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded in even-numbered years, consists of a $25,000 cash payment to the author of the winning manuscript, and guaranteed publication by a major publisher. The author will collect royalties in accordance with a publisher’s contract. The Bellwether Prize is unique; no other major North American endowment or prize for the arts specifically seeks to support a literature of social responsibility. Its intent is to advocate serious literary fiction that addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships. The prize is awarded to a previously unpublished novel representing excellence in this genre.

Previous prizes have been awarded to:

  • Donna Gershten, 2000, Kissing The Virgin's Mouth (HarperCollins, 2001)

  • Gayle Brandeis, 2002, The Book of Dead Birds (HarperCollins, 2003)

  • Marjorie Kowalski Cole (1953-2009), 2004, Correcting the Landscape (HarperCollins, 2005)
  • Hillary Jordan, 2006, Mudbound (Algonquin, 2008)

  • Heidi Durrow , 2008, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (Algonquin, February 2010)

  • Naomi Benaron, Running the Rift (Algonquin, TBA)

The Bellwether Prize was founded and is fully funded by Barbara Kingsolver. Judges for previous prizes include Russell Banks, Martín Espada, Terry Karten, Maxine Hong Kingston, Ursula K. LeGuin, Barry Lopez, Toni Morrison, Ruth Ozeki, Grace Paley and Anna Quindlen. The board of directors for the Bellwether Prize are Barbara Kingsolver, Frances Goldin and Arthur Blaustein. Publishers interested in submitting a proposal to publish a future Bellwether novel are encouraged to contact the Bellwether board through the NWUSO.

All correspondence concerning the Bellwether Prize should be addressed to:
     The National Writers United Service Organization
     256 W. 38th Street, Suite 703
     New York, NY 10018

Brochures for the Bellwether Prize can be downloaded in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format:
     Brochure Download


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