Grants & Programs

Literary Awards Program


Due to mandated state budget restrictions for Fiscal Year 2021 the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA) regrets to announce the suspension of the Literature Award Program Fiscal Year 2021.

Please note the Artist Fellowship Program is still active for FY21 with Literature as a discipline category option. Sub-categories include poetry, prose, and scriptworks and applications are due November 2, 2020.

For more information and assistance with the Artist Fellowship Program please visit:

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  • Nominations must be previously unpublished works of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.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.

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

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