Announcing 21st Annual
Massachusetts Book Awards (pub 2020)
Call for Submissions
22nd Annual MassBooks (pub 2021)
21st Annual Massachusetts Book Awards Announced
Massachusetts Center for the Book is pleased to announce the Award and Honors titles in the 21st Annual Massachusetts Book Awards. The Awards recognize achievement in five categories of literature written by current residents of the Commonwealth and published in 2020.

"The Massachusetts Book Awards is a perennial reminder of the enviable talent of the many writers living and working in the commonwealth," said Sharon Shaloo, Executive Director of Mass Center for the Book. “During yet another extraordinary year, the MassBooks are both timely and resonant."
The Fiction Award winner is The Bear (Bellevue Literary Press) by Andrew Krivak of Somerville. This fable about seeking harmony with nature by Earth's last human inhabitants - a father and daughter - has lessons of love, loss, family and survival.

Fiction Honors are awarded to Inheritors (Doubleday/Penguin Random House) by Asako Serizawa of Brookline and The Yellow Bird Sings (Flatiron Books/Macmillan) by Jennifer Rosner of Leverett.
The Nonfiction Award is How to Make a Slave and Other Essays (Ohio State UP) by Jerald Walker of Hingham. This collection of powerful essays about growing up, parenting and writing as a Black man in America deftly combines humor and anger in the author's personal and cultural observations.

The Nonfiction Honors titles are Cross of Snow (Knopf/Penguin Random House) by Nicholas A. Basbanes of North Grafton and What Can a Body Do? (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House) by Sara Hendren of Cambridge.
The Poetry Award winner is When My Body Was A Clinched Fist (Black Lawrence) by Enzo Silon Surin of Swampscott. A debut collection about coming of age in New York during the 1990's, it describes the poverty and violence of that time and place with eloquence and sensitivity.

Honors Poetry collections are Now It's Dark (Wesleyan UP) by Peter Gizzi of Holyoke and Women in the Waiting Room (Black Lawrence) by Kirun Kapur of Amesbury.
The Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature Award winner is Flamer (Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan) by Mike Curato of Northampton. In this debut graphic novel, the author shares his own heartbreaking and triumphant personal journey with humor and compassion, offering hope for young readers struggling with self-discovery and acceptance.

Honors titles in Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature are The Degenerates (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster) by J. Albert Mann of Charlestown and Trowbridge Road (Candlewick) by Marcella Pixley of Westford.
The Award winner in the Picture Book/Early Reader category is Wherever I Go (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster) by Mary Wagley Copp of Westport. This fictional story of a family in a refugee camp in Ethiopia captures the innocence and joy of childhood while portraying the courage, hardship and dreams of refugees everywhere.

Honors titles in Picture Books and Early Readers are Seven Golden Rings (Lee & Low Books) by Rajani LaRocca of Concord, and Zero Local: Next Stop: Kindness (Candlewick) by Ethan Murrow and Vita Murrow of Jamaica Plain.
We will be promoting the 21st Annual Award titles in the coming months and look forward to celebrating the authors at the State House when possible.

Please support these writers and our larger literary economy in Massachusetts by visiting the Mass Center for the Book shop on or consulting the NEIBA Map to find a bookseller near you. Thanks in advance!
Thanks to the Judges in the 21st Annual Awards Program

Rachel Alexander (Peabody Institute Library, Danvers), Cindy Erle (Shrewsbury Montessori School Librarian), Karen Kosko (Cambridge Public Schools Librarian, ret.), Amy Lewontin (Northeastern University Library), Michael J. Moran (Western Mass Library Advocates, Palmer), Katie Nelson (Beverly Public Library), Josh Newhouse (Bourne High School Librarian/Media Specialist), Molly Riportella (Walpole Public Library), J. D. Scrimgeour (Salem State University), Renee Wheeler (Leominster Public Library), and staff/consultants of Massachusetts Center for the Book
Submissions Open for 22nd Massachusetts Book Awards
The Call for the 22nd Annual Massachusetts Book Awards (books published in 2021) is now open. Submissions will be accepted until January 15, 2022.

We invite you to review the guidelines and complete the submission form using the link below. You will find some new elements this year:

  • In the Picture Book/Early Reader category, books are eligible if the writer OR illustrator is a current resident of Massachusetts
  • Writing for adults or children that has been TRANSLATED by a Massachusetts resident is invited for a new category of achievement.
  • We request one physical copy of the book for the first round of judging
  • Mass Center for the Book has a new mailing address. Please update records so as to ensure timely delivery.

Visit our website to read the complete guidelines & to access submission form:
Our New Address:

Massachusetts Center for the Book
17 New South Street, Suite 302
Northampton, MA 01060
Phone: 617.872.3718 (messages)

The Massachusetts Center for the Book is a public-private partnership, chartered as the Commonwealth affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and charged with developing, supporting and promoting cultural programming to advance the cause of books and reading in Massachusetts and throughout the nation.  
There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away . . .