LEE & LOW BOOKS - New Voices Writing Competition

About this Award: 

LEE & LOW BOOKS, award-winning publisher of children’s books, is pleased to announce the nineteenth annual New Voices Award. The Award will be given for a children’s picture book manuscript by a writer of color or Native/Indigenous writer.


Established in 2000, the New Voices Award encourages writers of color and Native nations to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent. Past New Voices Award submissions we have published include The Blue Roses, winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People; Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story, a Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist selection; and It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw, winner of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Honor. 



The Award winner receives a cash prize of $2,000 and LEE & LOW BOOKS' standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000.


Number of Awards Available: 




The application window is between May 1, and August 15, annually.


Region of Study: 

Not specified


Level of Study: 

Not specified/irrelevant


Eligibility : 

• The contest is open to writers of color and Native nations who are residents of the United States, 18 years or older at the time of entry, and who have not previously had a children’s picture book published.

• Writers who have published work in other venues and genres, including children’s magazines, young adult, and adult fiction or nonfiction, are eligible. Only unagented submissions will be accepted.   

• Work that has been published in any format, including online and self published, is not eligible.   

• Manuscripts previously submitted for this award or to LEE & LOW BOOKS will not be considered. 


Essay Required?: 

Yes (well, not a traditional essay, per say, but it is a writing contest!)


Essay Details: 

Manuscripts should address the needs of children of color and Native nations by providing stories with which they can identify and relate, and which promote a greater understanding of one another. Themes relating to non-traditional family structures, gender identity, or disabilities may also be included. Submissions may be FICTION, NONFICTION, or POETRY for children ages 5 to 12.


Stories with anthropomorphic animal characters will not be considered. Manuscripts should be no more than 1500 words in length and accompanied by a cover letter that includes the author’s name, address, phone number, email address, brief biographical note, relevant cultural and ethnic information, how the author heard about the award, and publication history, if any.  


Manuscripts should be typed double-spaced on 8-1/2” x 11” paper. A self-addressed, stamped envelope with sufficient postage must be included if you wish to have the manuscript returned.  


Application Instructions: 

Up to two submissions per entrant. Each submission should be mailed separately. Submissions should be clearly addressed to:
95 Madison Avenue, suite 1205
New York, NY 10016

Manuscripts may not be submitted to other publishers, mentorship contests, writing contests, or to LEE & LOW’s general submissions while under consideration for this award. LEE & LOW BOOKS is not responsible for late, lost, or incorrectly addressed or delivered submissions.


Contact Phone: 

1-888-320-3190 option 3


Field(s) of Study: