Competitions for MLA Publication Awards

Anyone may nominate a book for an MLA prize, but the author or publisher is responsible for sending the required number of copies, noted in the main list, to the MLA office before the deadline. Each item in the main list indicates, under the heading Eligibility, whether membership in the MLA is required. An author who is not a member of the MLA at the time of publication may become eligible to compete by joining the association before the deadline for the prize for which they are competing. 

Unless otherwise noted, “literary studies” here encompasses works of literary history, literary criticism, philology, and literary theory, as well as works dealing with literature and other arts and disciplines. Translations are eligible only for the three awards specifically devoted to that category.

For detailed announcements of these awards, click on the prize name below or call or write the MLA, 85 Broad Street, suite 500, New York, NY 10004-2434 (646 576-5141; fax: 646 458-0030; awards@mla.org).

Annual Prizes with Competitions in 2016

  • William Riley Parker Prize
    Definition: For an outstanding article in PMLA.
    Eligibility: Articles published in the October 2015, January 2016, March 2016, and May 2016 issues of PMLA. Commissioned articles and special features are not eligible for this award. Authors must be current members of the MLA.

  • James Russell Lowell Prize
    Deadline: 1 March 2016.
    Definition: For an outstanding literary or linguistic study, a critical edition of an important work, or a critical biography. Open to studies dealing with literary theory, media, cultural history, or interdisciplinary topics.
    Eligibility: Books published in 2015; authors must be current members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Six.

  • MLA Prize for a First Book
    Deadline: 1 March 2016. 
    Definition: Same as for James Russell Lowell Prize. 
    Eligibility: Book must have been published in 2015 as the first book-length publication of a current member of the MLA. 
    Copies required: Six.

  • Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize
    Deadline: 1 May 2016.
    Definition: For an outstanding book published in English or Spanish in the field of Latin American and Spanish literatures and cultures. Competing books should be broadly interpretive works that enhance understanding of the interrelations among literature, the other arts, and society. 
    Eligibility: Books published in 2015; authors need not be members of the MLA.  
    Copies required: Six.
    This prize has been endowed by Mimi Singer.

  • Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies
    Deadline: 1 May 2016.  
    Definition: For an outstanding scholarly work in comparative literary studies involving at least two literatures. 
    Eligibility: Books published in 2015; authors must be current members of the MLA. 
    Copies required: Four.
    This prize has been endowed by the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund.

  • Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Studies
    Deadline: 1 May 2016. 
    Definition: For an outstanding scholarly work in French or francophone linguistic or literary studies. 
    Eligibility: Books published in 2015; authors must be current members of the MLA. 
    Copies required: Four.
    This prize has been endowed by the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund.

  • William Sanders Scarborough Prize
    Deadline: 1 May 2016. 
    Definition: For an outstanding scholarly study of black American literature or culture. 
    Eligibility: Books published in 2015; authors need not be members of the MLA. 
    Copies required: Four.

  • Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies
    Deadline: 1 June 2016. 
    Definition: For an outstanding manuscript dealing with any aspect of the languages and literatures of Italy. 
    Eligibility: Manuscripts approved or ready for publication before award deadline; authors must be current members of the MLA residing in the United States or Canada. 
    Copies required: Four, plus contact and biographical information.
    This prize has been endowed by the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund.

  • Matei Calinescu Prize
    Deadline: 1 April 2016.
    Definition: For a distinguished work of scholarship in twentieth- or twenty-first-century literature and thought. Preference will be given to a first or second work published by a nominee. 
    Eligibility: Books published in 2014 or 2015; authors need not be members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Six.
    This prize has been endowed by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Biennial Prizes with Competitions in 2016

  • MLA Prize for Independent Scholars
    Deadline: 1 May 2016. 
    Definition: For a scholarly book in the field of English or other modern languages and literatures. 
    Eligibility: Books published in 2014 or 2015. At the time of publication of the book, author must not be enrolled in a program leading to an academic degree or hold a tenured, tenure-accruing, or tenure-track position in postsecondary education. Authors need not be members of the MLA. 
    Copies required: Six. Return completed entry form  with copies.

  • Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize
    Deadline: 1 May 2016. 
    Definition: For a work in the fields of language, culture, literacy, or literature with strong application to the teaching of English.
    Eligibility: Books published in 2014 or 2015; authors need not be members of the MLA. 
    Copies required: Four.

  • Howard R. Marraro Prize
    Deadline: 1 May 2016.
    Definition: For an outstanding scholarly work on any phase of Italian literature or comparative literature involving Italian.
    Eligibility: Books published in 2015; authors must be members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Four.
    This prize has been endowed by Howard R. Marraro.

  • MLA Prize for a Bibliography, Archive, or Digital Project
    Deadline: 1 May 2016.
    Definition: For an outstanding enumerative or descriptive bibliography, archive, or digital project.
    Eligibility: At least one volume must have been published in 2014 or 2015. Editors need not be members of the MLA. 
    Copies required: Four.

  • Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Germanic Languages and Literatures
    Deadline: 1 May 2016.
    Definition: For an outstanding scholarly work on the linguistics or literatures of any of the Germanic languages (Danish, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Yiddish).
    Eligibility: Books published in 2014 or 2015; authors must be members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Four.
    This prize has been endowed by the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund.

  • Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work
    Deadline: 1 April 2016.
    Definition: For an outstanding translation into English of a book-length literary work. 
    Eligibility: Translations published in 2015; translators need not be members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Six, plus 12–15 pages of text in original language.
    This prize has been endowed by the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund.
    Note: The Lois Roth Award for a Translation of a Literary Work is given each odd-numbered year, while the Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work is given each even-numbered year. Each competition is open to translations published in the year preceding the year in which the award is given. Definitions and criteria are the same for both awards.

  • Fenia and Yaakov Leviant Memorial Prize in Yiddish Studies
    Deadline: 1 May 2016.
    Definition: For an outstanding scholarly work in the field of Yiddish.
    Eligibility: Books published between 2012 and 2015; authors need not be members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Four. 
    This prize has been endowed by the family of Fenia and Yaakov Leviant.
    Note: This prize will be awarded alternately to an outstanding translation or an outstanding scholarly work in the field of Yiddish. For 2018, the prize will be awarded to an English translation of a Yiddish literary work published between 2014 and 2017.

  • MLA Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
    Deadline: 1 May 2016.
    Definition: For an outstanding scholarly work in the field of Native American literatures, cultures, and languages. 
    Eligibility: Books published in 2014 or 2015; authors must be current members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Four.

Biennial Prizes with Competitions in 2017

  • Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize
    Deadline: 1 May 2017. 
    Definition: For a work in the fields of language, culture, literacy, or literature with strong application to the teaching of languages other than English. 
    Eligibility: Books published in 2015 or 2016; authors need not be members of the MLA. 
    Copies required: Four.

  • Morton N. Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters
    Deadline: 1 May 2017.
    Definition: For an outstanding edition of letters. Editions may be in single or multiple volumes.
    Eligibility: At least one volume must have been published in 2015 or 2016; editors need not be members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Four.
    This prize has been endowed by Morton N. Cohen.

  • Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Scholarly Study of Literature
    Deadline: 1 May 2017.
    Definition: For an outstanding translation into English of a book-length work of literary history, literary criticism, philology, or literary theory.
    Eligibility: Books published in 2015 or 2016; translators need not be members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Four.
    This prize has been endowed by the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund.

  • Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures
    Deadline: 1 May 2017.
    Definition: For an outstanding scholarly work on the linguistics or literatures of the Slavic languages.
    Eligibility: Books published in 2015 or 2016; authors need not be members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Four.
    This prize has been endowed by the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund.

  • Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies
    Deadline: 1 May 2017.
    Definition: For an outstanding scholarly work on any phase of Italian literature or culture or comparative literature involving Italian.
    Eligibility: Books must be published in 2016; authors must be members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Four.
    This prize has been endowed by the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund.

  • MLA Prize for a Scholarly Edition
    Deadline: 1 May 2017.
    Definition: For an outstanding scholarly edition. Editions may be in single or multiple volumes.
    Eligibility: At least one volume must have been published in 2015 or 2016; editors need not be members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Four.

  • Lois Roth Award
    Deadline: 1 April 2017.
    Definition: For an outstanding translation into English of a book-length literary work.
    Eligibility: Translations published in 2016; translators need not be members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Six, plus 12–15 pages of text in original language. 
    This prize has been endowed by the Lois Roth Endowment.
    Note: The Lois Roth Award for a translation of a literary work is given each odd-numbered year, while the Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work is given each even-numbered year. Each competition is open to translations published in the year preceding the year in which the award is given. Definitions and criteria are the same for both awards.

  • MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies
    Deadline: 1 May 2017. 
    Definition: For an outstanding scholarly study in any language of United States Latina and Latino or Chicana and Chicano literature or culture. 
    Eligibility: Books published in 2015 or 2016; authors must be current members of the MLA.
    Copies required: Four.