Announcing the New Visions Award!

New Visions SealCalling all aspiring authors! We are thrilled to announce the establishment of the New Visions Award, which will be given to a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. Established by Lee & Low’s fantasy, science fiction and mystery imprint, Tu Books, the award is a fantastic chance for new authors of color to break into the world of speculative fiction, a genre that would benefit greatly from more diversity.

The New Visions Award is modeled after Lee & Low’s successful New Voices Award, which was established in 2000 and is given annually to a picture book written by an unpublished author of color. This award has led to the publication of several award-winning children’s books, including Bird by Zetta Elliott and Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds by Paula Yoo. Paula shares her experience of winning:

Winning the 2003 Lee & Low NEW VOICES Award was an incredible honor. It not only jump-started my book writing career, but it also provided a wider audience with the story of my non-fiction book’s subject – Dr. Sammy Lee, the first Asian American to win a Gold Medal at the Olympics.

It is our hope that the New Visions Award will help new authors begin long and successful careers writing speculative fiction, and will bring new stories to readers of the science fiction, fantasy, and mystery genres.

Manuscripts will be accepted now through October 30, 2012. The winner of the New Visions Award will receive a grant of $1000 and our standard publication contract. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash grant of $500. For further details, including eligibility guidelines and submission guidelines please visit the New Visions Award page.

If you have any questions about submissions, eligibility, or anything else, feel free to drop them in the comments and we’ll try to answer them. And please spread the word to any aspiring authors you know who might be interested. We look forward to reading your entries!

3 thoughts on “Announcing the New Visions Award!”

  1. What a great opportunity! Two questions:
    1. Please define what you mean by writer of color.
    2. How heavy does the subject of diversity need to be within the book? Is it enough that the main character is a minority, or does the premise need to reflect the character’s diversity?
    Thank you!

  2. Hi Anita,

    We use the term “color” in the commonly accepted way to refer to those writers and readers who might otherwise be referred to as members of minority populations (African Americans, Asian Americans, Latin Americans, and Native Americans), but who are fast becoming larger and larger percentages of the United States population. We apologize if anyone might find this terminology exclusionary, but it is meant merely to be descriptive. For want of a better term, we use what is in common usage throughout the country.

    For your second question, pretty much anything goes as long as the main character is a person of color, though I do prefer that we see the character’s cultural background at least through small specific details. This will vary widely from character to character and from book to book–anywhere from a deep immersion in a traditional culture to no immersion at all.

    For example, in the contemporary fantasy Cat Girl’s Day Off, the main character Nat is half Chinese and half Caucasian. Her culture is that of Chicago, really, and her Asian heritage usually just comes up in passing, such as when she complains about her height inherited from her Chinese father. In contrast, in Tankborn, everything–worldbuilding, characterization, descriptions, etc.–is steeped in the dominant culture, a dystopia founded upon a distortion of the Indian caste system. It all depends on what the story needs.

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