MLA Prize for a First Book


Open Only to Members of the Modern Language Association

The Committee on Honors and Awards of the Modern Language Association invites authors to compete for the twenty-sixth annual MLA Prize for a First Book, which will be awarded for an outstanding scholarly work published in 2018 as the first book-length publication by a current member of the association. To qualify for the prize, a book must be a literary or linguistic study, a critical edition of an important work, or a critical biography. Studies dealing with literary theory, media, cultural history, and interdisciplinary topics are eligible; books that are primarily translations will not be considered. The prize, which consists of a cash award and a certificate, will be presented to the winning author at the association’s annual convention in January 2020.

To enter a book into the competition, authors or publishers should send six copies and confirmation of the author’s membership in the MLA to the MLA Prize for a First Book, Modern Language Association, 85 Broad Street, suite 500, New York, NY 10004-2434. In the case of a born-digital publication, send the relevant media or URL and a letter identifying the work to Publishers may enter more than one title. Books entered in this competition may also compete for one other prize that is not the James Russell Lowell Prize, provided they meet eligibility requirements. Entries may be sent at any time but must be received by 1 March 2019. The winning author will be contacted in September, and a public announcement will be made in early December. Because of the volume of submissions, we regret that we are unable to contact each entrant individually.

For further information, call or write the MLA office of programs (646 576-5141;