Texas Institute of Letters

Literary Contest Conducted by the TIL

Each year the Texas Institute of Letters awards over $20,000 to recognize outstanding literary works in several categories. Eligibility for the awards requires that the entrant be born in Texas or have lived in Texas for at least two consecutive years at some time. A work whose subject matter substantially concerns Texas is also eligible.

Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction ($6,000) and Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction ($1,000)

Carr P. Collins Award for Best Book of Non-fiction ($5,000)

TIL Award for Most Significant Scholarly Book ($2,500)

Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for Best Book of Poetry ($1,200)

Bob Bush Memorial Award For First Book Of Poetry ($1,000)

Kay Cattarulla Award for Best Short Story ($1,000)

Edwin "Bud" Shrake Award for Best Short Nonfiction  ($1,000)

H-E-B Awards for Best Children’s Book ($500) and Best Young Adult Book ($500)

Fred Whitehead Award for Best Design of a Trade Book ($750)

Soeurette Diehl Fraser Award for Best Translation of a Book ($1,000)

In addition to the above, the TIL also recognizes distinguished writers with a career in letters associated with the state through its Lon Tinkle Award. This award is made by the TIL Council from nominations given by the membership.

 Lon Tinkle Award Winners
Tom Lea, 1981
John Graves, 1982
William Owens, 1983
Larry McMurtry, 1984
Donald Barthelme, 1985
Elmer Kelton, 1987
A.C. Greene, 1987
C.L. Sonnichsen, 1988
John Edward Weems, 1989
Marshall Terry, 1990
Margaret Cousins, 1991
Vassar Miller, 1992
Horton Foote, 1993
Americo Paredes, 1994
William Humphrey, 1995
Cormac McCarthy, 1996
Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, 1997
Robert Flynn, 1998
Walt McDonald, 1999
Leon Hale, 2000
William H. Goetzmann, 2001
Shelby Hearon, 2002
Bud Shrake, 2003
T.R. Fehrenbach, 2004
James Hoggard, 2005
William Wittliff, 2006
David Weber, 2007
Carolyn Osborn, 2008
Larry L. King, 2009
C.W. Smith, 2011*
Gary Cartwright, 2012
Stephen Harrigan, 2013
Jan Reid, 2014

*Beginning in 2011 the award date reflects the actual date of the presentation. For instance, Larry King's 2009 award was actually presented in 2010.