Literary Awards


Each year the Texas Institute of Letters awards more than $20,000 to recognize outstanding literary works in several categories. Eligibility for the awards requires that the author 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. The years below refer to the eligible first publication date of the annual award.


Call for TIL’s Literary Contest Entries: Click Here for Contest Details.

Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction ($6,000)

-Brian Van Reet, “The Chaff,” Iowa Review (2015).

-Brian Van Reet, “Eat the Spoil,” Missouri Review (2014).

Steven Turner Award for Best Work of First Fiction ($1,000)

2015

2014

2015

2014

Carr P. Collins Award for Best Book of Nonfiction ($5,000)

2015

2014

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

2015

2014

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

2015

2014

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

2015

2014

H-E-B/Jean Flynn Award for Best Children’s Book ($500)

2015

2014

H-E-B Award for Best Young Adult Book ($500)

2015

2014

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

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

2014-15

2012-13

2014

2015

Denton Record-Chronicle Award for Best Children's Picture Book ($500)

2015

2014

In addition to the above, the Texas Institute of Letters 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. (*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.)

-W.K. Stratton, “My Brother’s Secret,” Texas Monthly (2015).

-Pamela Colloff, “The Witness,” Texas Monthly (2014).

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

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

Sarah Bird, 2016

Lawrence Wright, 2015

Jan Reid, 2014

Stephen Harrigan, 2013

Gary Cartwright, 2012

C.W. Smith, 2011*

Larry L. King, 2009

Carolyn Osborn, 2008

David Weber, 2007

William Wittliff, 2006

James Hoggard, 2005

T.R. Fehrenbach, 2004

Bud Shrake, 2003

Shelby Hearon, 2002

William H. Goetzmann, 2001

Leon Hale, 2000

Walt McDonald, 1999

Robert Flynn, 1998

Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, 1997

Cormac McCarthy, 1996

William Humphrey, 1995

Americo Paredes, 1994

Horton Foote, 1993

Vassar Miller, 1992

Margaret Cousins, 1991

Marshall Terry, 1990

John Edward Weems, 1989

C.L. Sonnichsen, 1988

A.C. Greene, 1987

Elmer Kelton, 1987

Donald Barthelme, 1985

Larry McMurtry, 1984

William Owens, 1983

John Graves, 1982

Tom Lea, 1981 

Lon Tinkle Award ($1,500)