The Aspen Words Literary Prize is open for entry as of today.

The $35,000 prize annually rewards an “influential work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture.”

The prize  is open to novels and short story collections from writers of any nationality, addressing violence, inequality, gender, the environment, immigration, religion, race or other social issues.

The 2021 prize is judged by the British-Nigerian writer Sarah Ladipo Mayinka, Vietnamese-American novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen and the American writers Emily Bernard, Daniel Shaw and Luis Alberto Urrea.

The Aspen Words Literary Prize accepts submissions from publishers only. Publishers must be based in the US and can enter up to six submissions per small publisher or imprint.

There is a $60 non-refundable entry fee for each submitted title. This fee can be waived for “publishers whose annual net sales are less than $4 million.”

For more information on eligibility and submission process, go here.

The deadline for nomination of titles is August 3, 2020. A longlist and shortlist would be announced in Mid-November 2020 and Mid-February 2021 respectively. The winner would be announced in Mid-April 2021.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the prize administrators will decide in fall 2020 whether to host an in-person awards or a virtual awards ceremony in April 2021.

Previously nominated writers of African descent include Laila Lalami, Akwaeke Emezi, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Gael Faye, Zizi Clemons and Alain Mabanckou.

Visit the Aspen Words Literary Prize website.