The Maine Literary Awards is an annual competition sponsored and coordinated by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Nominations are open to all Maine residents, including seasonal residents. The statewide competition is for published books, as well as drama, short works (either published or unpublished), and student writing. Maine writers may self-nominate, or be nominated by others.

Previous Winners: 2015 | 2014 | 20132012 | 2011

This year, nearly one hundred and forty books were entered across the award’s categories; compare that to the 2011 awards when seventy books total were submitted. In addition, more than one hundred manuscripts were submitted into the award’s Short Works Competition, and nearly sixty Maine students submitted work in the same categories in the award’s Youth Competition.

Award Ceremony: The winners of the 2016 Maine Literary Awards were revealed live at a ceremony on Thursday, May 26 at SPACE in downtown Portland. To view nearly 150 photos of the event, click HERE.


Book Award for Fiction
Closer All the Time by Jim Nichols

Book Award for Crime Fiction
An Unbeaten Man by Brendan Rielly

Book Award for Speculative Fiction
The Realm of Misplaced Hearts by Rick Hobbs

Book Award for Nonfiction
Love and Other Ways of Dying by Michael Paterniti

Book Award for Memoir
How to Cook a Moose by Kate Christensen

Book Award for Poetry
Little Arias by Kristen Case

Book Award for Young People’s Literature
Either the Beginning or the End of the World by Terry Farish

Book Award for Children’s
The Lemonade Hurricane by Licia Morelli (Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris)

Book Award for Anthology (Editors)
A Gateless Garden by Liza Bakewell

John N. Cole Award for Maine-themed Nonfiction
Ghost Buck by Dean Bennett

Excellence in Publishing
Historical Atlas of Maine by Stephen J. Hornsby & Richard W. Judd (University of Maine Press)

Drama Award (for film, theater, and other scripts)
Monica Wood

Short Works Competition, Fiction
Douglas W. Milliken

Short Works Competition, Nonfiction
Penny Guisinger

Short Works Competition, Poetry
David Sloan

Youth Competition, Fiction
Greg Nam

Youth Competition, Nonfiction
Emma Levy

Youth Competition, Poetry
Lizzy Lemieux


For a complete list of the 2016 finalists, please click HERE.


The 2016 Maine Literary Awards are also generously supported by the John N. Cole Family, Just Write Books, Maine Authors Publishing, Maine Poetry Society, University of Southern Maine. 


We are very excited to announce several new partnerships for the 2016 Maine Literary Awards that will result in the publication of the winning manuscripts in the Short Works and Youth Awards. The MWPA is grateful to the editors and publishers for their belief in and support of Maine writers!

  • Winners of the Youth Award in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry will all be published in the Maine Sunday Telegram.
  • Winners of 2016 Maine Literary Awards in the Book Awards categories will be invited to participate in a special “winner’s table” at the Books in Boothbay book festival in July 2016.

*Participation in these publishing opportunities is NOT mandatory in any way and participation will have NO impact whatsoever in the selection of winning entries; after winners in each category have been announced, the winners will be given the opportunity to decide whether or not they would like to participate and have their piece published.


All questions about Maine Literary Awards submissions may be directed to Projects & Programs Coordinator Hannah Perry: