Walter Award Call For Submissions

by We Need Diverse Books

walterMarch 29, 2016 (New York, New York)–WNDB is pleased to invite submissions for the annual Walter Dean Myers Award, also known as “The Walter,” named after the celebrated children’s book author Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014). The 2017 Walter Award will be given in the young adult category. Future Walter Awards will expand to include awards for picture books and middle grade literature.

The inaugural Walter Awards ceremony was celebrated at the Library of Congress on March 18, 2016. The Walter Award winning authors were Jason and Reynolds and Brendan Kiely for All American Boys, and the 2016 Walter Honorees were Margarita Engle for Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez, and Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon for X: A Novel.

The Walter Award will be decided by a judging committee of esteemed librarians, educators, and authors. The co-chairs of the award are Kathie Weinberg and Terry Hong. “We had the pleasure of reading so many outstanding books for the inaugural Walter Award and are excited about starting the 2017 process,” stated Kathie Weinberg.

One book will be awarded the 2017 Walter Award for YA. One to three books will receive 2017 Walters Honors. The 2017 Walter Award winner will be announced in January 2017.

The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2016.


  • A submission must be written by a diverse author and the submission must be a diverse work. If a work has co-authors, at least one of the authors must be diverse.
  • A diverse work constitutes a YA work written by a diverse author featuring a diverse main character. For works without a main character, the work must address diversity in a substantial capacity.
  • Work must be an original work published in the United States for the first time in 2016.
  • Work may have been originally in another language and translated, but the first English publication date in the United States must be in 2016.
  • Work must be determined to be in the young adult genre for an audience of ages 13-18.

What is meant by “diverse”?

Authors must identify as one or more of the following. The main character of the story must also identify as one or more of the following:

  • Person of color
  • Native American
  • Person with a disability
  • Marginalized religious or cultural minority in the United States.

Please note:

  • If the work does not include a main character, the subject matter must pertain substantially to diverse experiences and content.
  • Socio-economic status and class do not qualify as diverse for the purposes of this award.

Any submission received that does not meet these requirements will not be read.

Submission Guidelines

Publishers are invited to submit eligible titles for consideration to the Walter Award judging committee. One physical book must be provided to each of the committee members. Please contact to receive members’ shipping addresses.

When publishers submit books, they must supply information regarding which book[s] they are sending. Such information includes:

  1. A tally of the books included in the shipment, with the publication dates for each book
  2. The diversity with which the author identifies
  3. The diversity of the main character or the overall diversity of the work.

Publishers must submit physical copies. Physical copies may be a finished book or an ARC.

Self-published authors are invited to submit print copies of each of the judges for their consideration, with the following information:

  1. The diversity with which the author identifies
  2. The diversity of the main character or the overall diverse subject matter of the work
  3. A brief summary of their work to .

To maintain a professional boundary between judges and authors, no author, their family member, or their business partner may directly send any materials to a judge. If the structure of your publishing house requires the author, their family member, or their business partner to send the work to judges directly, please follow the guidelines for self-published authors. If any author, their family member, or their business partner sends a work to a judge directly, that work will be disqualified.

Please note: The last date to mail eligible titles is November 1, 2016. Entries must be postmarked by this date to be eligible for consideration.

For any questions, please contact .

 We look forward to your submissions!