Library of Virginia Literary Awards

2008 Literary Awards

IN 1997, the Library of Virginia established its annual Literary Awards program to honor Virginia writers and celebrate their contributions to the literary landscape of our state and nation. Given to Virginia authors in the categories of fiction and poetry—and to nonfiction authors for works about a Virginia subject as well—the awards are presented at an annual gala celebration that has become the Library’s signature event and an eagerly anticipated cultural tradition in Richmond. While the main award recipients are selected by independent panels of judges, the Library also invites book lovers and readers to vote for their favorite works for the People’s Choice Awards for Fiction and Nonfiction. In the past, the Library has also bestowed a Literary Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize the enduring influence of an outstanding Virginia writer, with past winners including Earl Hamner, Lee Smith, Jan Karon, Tom Robbins, Charles Wright, Barbara Kingsolver, Rita Dove, John Grisham, Tom Wolfe, and David Baldacci.

The Library also partners each year with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to present the Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award for an outstanding literary work with art or works of art as its primary subject. Learn more here.

Ten authors are the finalists for the Library of Virginia's 23rd Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards. The finalists were chosen by an independent panel of judges from more than 136 books nominated for the awards.

The 2020 Library of Virginia Literary Award finalists are:


  • ANGIE KIM | Miracle Creek
  • TARA LASKOWSKI | One Night Gone
  • CHRISTOPHER TILGHMAN | Thomas and Beal in the Midi


  • TRESSIE MCMILLAN COTTOM | Thick: And Other Essays
  • MARY M. LANE | Hitler's Last Hostages: Looted Art and the Soul of the Third Reich
  • ERIK NIELSON AND ANDREA L. DENNIS | Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America


  • LAUREN K. ALLEYNE | Honeyfish
  • DAVID HUDDLE | My Surly Heart

The Library of Virginia Literary Awards will be celebrated virtually this year with a week of author conversations and special events—which will be accessible to the public—beginning Tuesday, October 13, 2020. Anchoring the week will be the Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award on Friday, October 16, and the Library of Virginia Literary Awards on Saturday, October 17, with our nominated authors, presenters, and special guests. This annual event, sponsored by Dominion Energy, attracts library supporters, authors, publishers, and those who enjoy the written word. Award-winning Virginia author Adriana Trigiani will again serve as host for the evening.

The winners will be announced on Saturday, October 17, 2020, during the virtual celebration. Each winner will receive an engraved crystal book and a monetary prize of $2,500.

For sponsorship information to support and participate in the 2020 Celebration check here.

Online voting for the 2020 People's Choice Awards is now open. Click here to cast your vote! Voting runs through August 31st. If you would like to vote by paper ballot, download the ballot and mail to Library of Virginia Foundation, 800 E. Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219, postmarked by August 31st.

This year's ficton finalists for the People's Choice Awards are:

  • MARTIN CLARK | The Substitution Order
  • BRUCE HOLSINGER | The Gifted School
  • ANGIE KIM | Miracle Creek
  • TOSCA LEE | The Line Between
  • SONJA YOERG | True Places

This year's nonficton finalists for the People's Choice Awards are:

  • TRESSIE MCMILLAN COTTOM | Thick: And Other Essays
  • DAVID L. ROLL | George Marshall: Defender of the Republic
  • CRAIG SHIRLEY | Mary Ball Washington
  • ALAN TAYLOR | Thomas Jefferson's Education
  • KATHERINE WINTSCH | Slay Like a Mother

We are now accepting nomination submissions for the 2021 Literary Awards (books published in 2020). Nominations may be submitted by completing the online form.

The nomination form may also be printed and mailed to:

Library of Virginia Literary Awards
Attn: Nancy Orr
800 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219

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