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William Sanders Scarborough Prize

Competition in 2016 for Books Published in 2015

Open to Members and Nonmembers of the Association

The Committee on Honors and Awards of the Modern Language Association is pleased to invite authors to compete for the fifteenth annual William Sanders Scarborough Prize. A distinguished man of letters and former university president, William Sanders Scarborough was the first African American member of the Modern Language Association. He exemplified the life of the mind combined with community service. Established in 2001, the prize is awarded annually for an outstanding scholarly study of black American literature or culture published the previous year. 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 2017.

To enter a book into the competition, authors or publishers should send four copies and a letter identifying the work to the William Sanders Scarborough Prize, 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 the James Russell Lowell Prize or the MLA Prize for a First Book, provided they meet eligibility requirements. Entries may be sent at any time but must be received by 1 May 2016. 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;

Past winners of this prize


© 2015 Modern Language Association. Last updated 08/31/2015.