The Aspen Words Literary Prize is a $35,000 annual award for an influential work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture. 

The inaugural award will be conferred for books published between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The winner will be announced at a celebration in New York City in early spring 2018, and will receive an award of $35,000. The winner will be the featured speaker and guest of honor in Aspen, Colorado for the June 2018 Aspen Words Summer Benefit.


The jury is comprised of one Aspen Institute stakeholder, a literary scholar or social scientist, an Aspen Words stakeholder, and two notable authors who have written fiction that aligns with the goals of this prize. They are selected by the Aspen Words Staff in consultation with the Aspen Words Creative Council and the Aspen Institute.

Please carefully review all eligibility requirements and submission details before completing the entry form below. Entries are open to publishers only. 

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If you are a publisher and would like to receive further information about submitting a work of fiction for the Aspen Words Literary Prize, please sign up here and select the “PUBLISHERS” option at the bottom of the page. For general inquiries, please email literary.prize@aspeninstitute.org or call 970-925-3122 ext 1#.