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Catherine Underhill Fitzpatrick 2023 CAL Awards



The 2025 Awards will open
Dec. 1, 2024

Past CAL Awards winners and finalists say CAL Awards are both rewarding and a marketing plus.
We look forward to receiving your entries. 

Winners will be announced at the Annual CAL AWARDS Summer Celebration where Category Winners will be announced and receive a trophy, book award stickers, and a cash prize.

You must be a CAL Member to enter this contest.

Direct questions to Judy White:

Bruce Most LTA Award

Submission RULES

Dear CAL Members: we welcome your entries for the 2025 CAL Awards!!

Submissions Open December 1, 2024, and close January 31, 2025. 

The Early Bird Price of $60 for a Long Entry and $30 for a Short Entry ends Dec. 31. After that date, the price goes up to $65 and $35 respectively.

You must be a CAL member in good standing to submit for any award. Non-members are welcome to apply for CAL membership and then submit for award consideration.

Both traditionally published and independently published works can be submitted.

Only CAL members may submit entries as principal authors, but co-authors and non-writing collaborators such as illustrators do not have to be CAL members.

Illustrators who are CAL members may now enter their own illustrated books, whether or not the author is a CAL member.

A few things have changed this year, so before clicking on the CAL Awards link (you must be logged in to see it), please review our current submission rules below. If you have questions after reviewing the submission rules, don’t hesitate to email Jodi Bowersox at (Include the words CAL AWARDS in the subject line of your email.)

There is a two-year time period for published works eligibility.

Only works FIRST published from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2024 are eligible for entry. Only works that have never been entered before are eligible. Revisions of a work published in a previous year are not eligible.

All Books submitted must be commercially available. (This availability can be on the author's website).

Electronic Submissions
You may submit your work electronically once you have created an account on the CAL Awards site and have been verified as a CAL member in good standing. We highly recommend that entries be submitted electronically as PDFs (or JPGs for Cover Design) for your own convenience, cost-cutting, and environmental impact, but  physical copies can still be submitted.


Works written entirely by AI or a ghostwriter are ineligible for submission. See CAL's statement on AI.

Works that have ONLY been published to the author's own blog are not eligible for entry. Online publication of articles, poems, short stories, and essays must have gone through a submission, review, and acceptance process.

All entries must have been published by a source other than the author, illustrator, or designer's own website or blog. 

You must indicate on the entry form where your entry is available.

Short works published in a larger publication such as anthologies, collections, and magazines, are acceptable.

Unless published and commercially available, Screenplays, Stage Plays, and Audio Plays must be registered as of 2022 or 2023, with an industry-recognized registry (WGAE, WGAW, U.S. Copyright Office, for example) to be eligible for entry.

A copy of the industry registry must accompany the submission.

Multiple Entries

Adult FICTION may be entered in up to two GENRE categories (Mainstream/ Literary is not considered a genre category).

Adult NON-FICTION BOOKS may be entered in up to two categories as long as one of the two isn't General Nonfiction. 

Each category entered costs the listed amount.

As always, all judges for the CAL Awards are independent of CAL, and CAL reserves the right not to confer any award in a given year.

Judges are selected from all over. We pull in teachers, professors, writers, and librarians from across the country, taking care that any judge isn't personally acquainted with an author whose work they will be judging. We also look for people in the fields of book cover design and illustration to judge those specialized categories.


Longer Works $60, Shorter Works $30

General Categories

In Alphabetical Order

Article  $30   Nonfiction: Adult, Research / Journalistic / Academic / Scholastic
Children (Author submission) *  $30 Fiction or Nonfiction: Illustrated Children's Book (weight given to the story), Birth to 8-years-old

Essay  $30  Opinion / Inspirational / Humor / Personal Memoir (up to 5000 words)
$60 Fiction: Adult (over 40,000 words)
Middle Grade    $60 Fiction or Nonfiction: Ages 9-13

Nonfiction: General   $60  Nonfiction: Adult

Novella   $60   Fiction: Adult (17,500-40,000 words)

Play (Full Length)  $60 Screen, Stage, or Audio Play

Play (One Act)  $30 Screen, Stage, or Audio Play

PLEASE NOTE: Unless published and commercially available, screenplays, Stage Plays and Audio Plays must be resistered as of 2022 or 2023 with an industry-recognized registry (WGAE, WGAW, U.S. Copyright Office, for example) to be eligible for entry. A copy of the industry registry must accompany the submission.

Poem  $30 Single Poem

Poetry Collection  $60 Minimum of 20 poems by one poet

Prose Collection  $60 Essays or Short Stories by one author

Short Story  $30 Fiction: Short Story (up to 17,500 words)

Young Adult  $60 Fiction or Nonfiction: Ages 14-18

Genre Fiction Categories (over 40,000 words)

In Alphabetical Order

Fantasy *  $60 Adult

Historical Fiction *  $60 Adult

Horror / Paranormal *  $60 Adult

Romance  $60 Adult

Science Fiction *  $60 Adult

Suspense: Cozy Mystery *  $60 Adult

Suspense: Mystery *  $60 Adult

Suspense: Thriller *  $60 Adult: No mystery to solve

History / Biography Categories
In Alphabetical Order

Biography / Memoir *  $60 Nonfiction: Adult

History *  $60 Nonfiction: Adult

Art & Design Categories

In Alphabetical Order

Book Cover Design: Juvenile **  $30  Children and Middle Grade, Fiction or Nonfiction

Book Cover Design: YA / Adult ** $30  YA / Adult, Fiction or Nonfiction

Children (Illustrations) * $30  Illustrated Children's Book (Illustrations, and how they fit with the story will be judged)
Graphic Novel  $60  Adult or Youth


* Qualifies for Multiple Entries

** Book Cover Design can be a 1st, 2nd or even a 3rd entry for a single title


Multiple Entries examples:

A Genre Fiction book could be entered in both Romance and Mystery, with a 3rd entry for Cover Design for a total of $150.

A Nonfiction book could be entered in both Biography / Memoir and History, with a 3rd entry for Cover Design for a total of $150.

A Children's book could be entered for both the story and the illustrations, with a 3rd entry for Cover Design for a total of $90.

Books entered in Nonfiction: General or Mainstream / Literary MAY NOT be entered in another writing category, but can also be entered in Cover Design. Either of these categories with Cover Design would cost a total of $90.

You may only choose ONE Suspense category for any one book. Each Suspense category has different criteria.
You may enter single poems that also appear in an entered poetry collection in the same year.

Have questions about entry qualifications or the submissions process? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions

The CAL Awards are now closed.