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Religious Book Awards and Best Sellers

American Academy of Religion Awards for Excellence
New scholarly publications that make significant contributions to the study of religion are recognized annually by the American Academy of Religion Awards for Excellence. The awards, given in three categories, “honor works of distinctive originality, intelligence, creativity and importance, books that affect decisively how religion is examined, understood, and interpreted.” A separate competition and prize for the Best First Book in the History of Religions is also held each year. Last visited: 01/2015

This fiction award presented by the Catholic Writers Guild will debut in 2012. Last visited: 01/2015

Carol Award. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).
Since 2002 the American Christian Fiction Writers has presented awards in several categories, including history, romance, mystery, young adult, speculative, suspense, and others. Last visited: 01/2015

CCL Book of the Year
Presented annually by the Conference on Christianity and Literature (CCL) the awards recognize works which have “contributed most to the dialogue between literature and the Christian faith.” Occasionally two awards are given, one for scholarship and another for belles letters. Last visited: 01/2015

Christian Booksellers Association: Best Seller Lists
Included here for quick access to those seeking Christian bestseller lists. Weekly updated lists for fiction, nonfiction, children's, gift books, music, videos, Bibles, and mass market paperbacks. The “CBA is the international trade association of Christian product suppliers and retailers.” Last visited: 01/2015

Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year.
Established in 2008 and requiring a small entry fee, this award recognized the best books from small presses in eight categories: fiction, biography, Christian living, relationships/family, Bible study/theology, and children’s books in three distinct age groups. Winners are selected by readers, retailers, and publishing professionals. Last visited: 01/2015

Christianity Today Book Awards
Juried annual awards in multiple categories were first presented in 1962 under the name "Choice Evangelical Books." Last visited: 01/2015

Christopher Awards
Established in 1949 the Christopher Awards “affirm the highest values of the human spirit” and have been presented in a variety of categories, including books, movies, and television. Visitors to the site will need to browse the winners lists by year. The addition of a search engine or a single list with all winners would enhance the site's usability. Last visited: 01/2015

Christy Awards
"Presented annually in July to recognize and promote Christian fiction of exceptional quality and impact." Last visited: 01/2015

Crown and Lamplighter Awards
Founded by a Christian school librarian in 1992, the awards “...encourage elementary and junior high students to read wholesome and uplifting books by providing lists each year of the best literature.” The nominees and award winners are not necessarily religious books, but must “...convey wholesome values, uplifting characters, and edifying themes that inspire children toward positive goals....” Sandra Morrow, founder of the Awards, says: “The programs are filling a need for Christian, parochial and private schools. The programs are designed to use mainstream books to influence authors and publishers to put out higher quality books.” Last visited: 01/2015

ECPA Christian Book Awards. Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.
Publishers submit and pay a fee to nominate titles in the Bibles, Fiction, Children & Youth, Inspiration & Gift, Bible Reference & Study, Christian Life categories. Formerly the Gold Medallion Book Awards. Last visited: 01/2015

ECPA Christian Book of the Year. Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.
Chosen from Christian Book Award finalists, but includes sales figures as a criteria to measure popularity. Fee based. Last visited: 01/2015

Edward Lewis Wallant Award. University of Harford, Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies.
Awarded annually by a panel of judges to an American fiction writer whose work has ”significance for the American Jew.” Last visited: 01/2015

Epiphany Prize
Presented annually since 1996 by the Templeton Foundation for inspiring movies and television. The purpose, criteria, and rules are clearly stated and a list of previous recipients provided. Last visited: 01/2015

Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) Bestseller Lists and Awards.
Included here for quick access to bestseller lists and award winners. The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association is an international, not-for-profit, trade organization. The ECPA Christian Book Awards, formerly the Gold Medallion Book Awards, have been presented in six categories since 1978. Other awards are based on sales data. Last visited: 01/2015

Excellence in Publishing Awards. Association of Catholic Publishers.
This fee-based award debuting in 2012 will be presented in the following categories: general interest, inspirational, prayer and spirituality, scripture, theology, and resources for ministry. A “Book of the Year” will be named from among the first place finishers in these categories. Last visited: 01/2015

ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards
Publications of small, independent presses are recognized in the categories of religion and spirituality. Award criteria ensure a variety of religious traditions are represented among winners and finalists. Winners are selected by “a jury of librarians, booksellers and reviewers...based on editorial excellence and professional production as well as the originality of the narrative and the value the book adds to its genre.” Last visited: 01/2015

Gantz Zahler Grant for Jewish Nonfiction Publishing
Awarded biannually to an American author of a "nonfiction book project that is under contract and reflects upon Jewish life, history, tradition, thought or culture." Last visited: 01/2015.

Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction by Emerging Writers
"Established in 1999 the prize spotlights promising new talent, and is awarded to an American fiction writer for a first or second full-length work that was published in the previous calendar year." Last visited: 01/2015

Grawemeyer Award in Religion
Sponsored by the Grawemeyer Foundation, the University of Louisville and the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary the award “honor[s] and publicize[s] insights into the relationship between human beings and the divine and the ways this relationship may empower human beings to attain wholeness, integrity or meaning.” The award may be presented to either fiction or non-fiction, but went exclusively to non-fiction works until 2006. Last visited: 01/2015

Harold U. Ribalow Prize.
Sponsored by Hadassah Magazine, a panel of judges has been annually recognizing outstanding Jewish fiction since 1983. Last visited: 01/2015

IBPA Ben Franklin Award in Religion. Independent Book Publishers Association.
Fee-based awards in fifty-five categories for “excellence in independent publishing.” Last visited: 01/2015

IPPY Awards
Presented annually since 1996 by Independent Publisher Online relevant categories include religious fiction, inspirational/spiritual, and religion. Diverse religious views are recognized by works from independent publishers. Last visited: 01/2015

Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize
Established in 1977 to recognize Jewish and non-Jewish authors residing in the UK, British Commonwealth, Europe and Israel. Last visited: 01/2015

John Gilmary Shea Prize. American Catholic Historical Association.
Annual juried award for a book on the history of the Catholic Church. Last visited: 01/2015

Judaica Reference and Bibliography Awards
Established in 1984 by the Association of Jewish Libraries these awards recognize outstanding reference and bibliographical works related to Judaism. Last visited: 01/2015

Kairos Prize
A new prize established in 2005 to recognize full length movie or television screenplays that are spiritually uplifting. The winners of the international competition receive cash and the screenplay may be put into film or television production. Last visited: 01/2015

National Jewish Book Awards
Presented by the Jewish Book Council since 1948, the awards are the oldest Jewish book awards presented in the United States. Presented in sixteen categories, including American Jewish Studies, Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir, Children's and Young Adult Literature, Contemporary Jewish Life & Practice, Education and Jewish Identity, Fiction, History, Holocaust, Illustrated Children's Book, Jewish Family Literature, Modern Jewish Thought & Experience, Scholarship, Sephardic Culture, Women's Studies, Writing Based On Archival Material, and Reference. Last visited: 01/2015

Nautilus Book & Audio Book Awards
"Recognizes Books and Audio Books that promote spiritual growth, conscious living & positive social change, while at the same time they stimulate the "imagination" and offer the reader "new possibilities" for a better life and a better world." Last visited: 01/2015

Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Fee-based awards presented annually by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group in cooperation with the Allen O'Shea Literary Agency. Grand prizes are granted in fiction and non-fiction and 60 additional categories, including religious fiction and non-fiction, in which a single winner and multiple finalists are recognized. Winners and finalists may receive a cash prize, medals, a listing in the annual Next Generation Indie Book Awards Catalog, an invitation to attend the Gala Awards Ceremony, and the opportunity to display Finalist or Winner gold award stickers on books. The top 60 books will be reviewed by the Allen O'Shea Literary Agency. Last visited: 01/2015

Annually recognizes the very best in professional and scholarly publishing. Last visited: 01/2015

Religion Newswriters Association Book Award.
Fee based award established in 2012 to recognize journalistic nonfiction “classified as biography, history, current affairs, analysis, business and some memoirs.” Last visited: 01/2015

John C. Pollock Award for Christian Biography
Named for Christian biographer John C. Pollock and presented annually since 2001 by Beeson Divinity School at Samford University. Last visited: 01/2015

Religious Communication Association (RCA) Book Award
Presented annually by the RCA to the best scholarly book on religious communication. Last visited: 01/2015

Regina Medal
Presented annual since 1959 by the Catholic Library Association, the medal recognizes sustained contributions to the field of children's literature. Winners need not be of the Catholic faith and include such notables as Madeline L'Engle, Tomie dePaola, Dr. Seuss and Beverly Cleary. Last visited: 01/2015

Retailers Choice Awards.
An entry fee is required for these annual awards in varying categories presented by Christian Retailing magazine. Last visited 01/2015

RITA Award for Inspirational Romance
Established in 1982 by the Romance Writers of America (RWA), an Inspirational Romance category was introduced three years later. To qualify for the award a work must be a romance reflecting "religious or spiritual beliefs ... as a major part of the romantic relationship [and]the ending [must be] emotionally satisfying and optimistic." Last visited: 01/2015

Rodda Book Award
Established in 2005 by the Church and Synagogue Library Association the award recognizes “a book that has contributed significantly to congregational libraries due to excellent writing that nurtures spiritual growth.” Adult, young adult, and children's books compete separately because the award rotates between the three categories on a yearly basis. Last visited: 01/2015

Salo Wittmayer Baron Book Prize
Sponsored by the American Academy for Jewish Researchers, this annual award honors a first time author of academic non-fiction. Last visited: 01/2015

Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature
A $100,000 (USD) prize is administered by the Jewish Book Council and presented annually, alternating years between fiction and non-fiction works. Non-fiction works are limited to History, Biography/ Autobiography/ Memoir, Contemporary Jewish Life, Jewish Scholarship, and Current Affairs. Last visited: 01/2015

Sophie Brody Medal
Established in 2005 by The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association, Arthur Brody, and the Brodart Foundation this award recognizes a U.S. author for distinguished contribution to Jewish literature for adults. Consisting of a medal for the winner and citations for honor books, works of fiction and non-fiction for adults published in the preceding year are eligible for the award. Last visited: 01/2015

Sydney Taylor Book Awards
Presented by the Jewish Library Association the award is given to outstanding children's books of Jewish content. Awards for younger readers, older readers, and manuscripts have been presented annually since 1971. Last visited: 01/2015

Theologos Awards
Presented annually in several categories by the Association of Theological Booksellers (ATB) these awards honor the Best General Interest Book, Best Children's Book, Best Academic Book and Book of the Year. An award for Publisher of the Year is also granted. Winners since 1999 are indicated. Last visited: 01/2015

Wilbur Awards
Established in 1950 by the Religion Communicators Council's (RCC) the awards “recognize excellence in the communication of religious issues, values, and themes in the secular media.” The awards are given in a number of categories including books, newspapers, magazines, editorial cartoons or comic strips, photography, television and radio programs, and films. Last visited: 01/2015

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