Grants & Programs

Literary Awards Program


Literary Awards recognize Illinois writers and promote greater awareness of non-commercial publishing in the state. The award encourages Illinois not-for-profit literary magazines to publish and disseminate new work by living Illinois writers and poets. Awards are given to both the selected writers and to the magazines (print or web-based) that published their work.

Literary Awards are given to those publications whose primary mission is to publish contemporary poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. Creative non-fiction (CNF) is distinguished from non-fiction by its strong narrative and literary quality as found in personal essays or memoirs. CNF does not include work that is predominately analytical, scholarly, or journalistic.

Companion awards of $1,000 will be given to selected Illinois writers and to the publications that nominated their work.

  • Nominations must be previously unpublished works of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.
  • Nominated works cannot:
    • Be collaborative pieces.
    • Consist of interviews, reviews, or literary translations.
    • Have been previously published.
  • Nominations must be made by the editorial staff of the applicant magazine.
  • Editorial staff may not nominate their own work.
  • A maximum of ten pieces can be nominated by any one applicant.
  • Nominations can include a combination of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction pieces.
  • More than one piece by the same writer can be nominated, but each piece will count toward the maximum of ten.
  • The nominated work must be available for review by PDF document or via a direct link on the publication’s website.


November 15, 2019

To access the Literary Awards Program Guidelines, follow the link:

To access the Literary Awards Application, follow the link:

For further information about the Literary Awards program, contact Susan Dickson, Program Director, by email: or by phone: 312/814-6740.