Nominations and Criteria

Nominations for the 2022 Awards will open on January 14, 2022

Nominations will be accepted for books first published in 2021.

Books published in 2022 will be eligible for nomination in January 2023.

High Plains Book Awards 2022 Award Criteria

The High Plains Books Awards recognize regional authors and/or literary works which examine and reflect life on the High Plains. The High Plains region includes Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.


Nominations will be accepted in the following categories in 2022:

  • The Art & Photography Award recognizes the best book depicting art and/or photography by or about one artist or a collection of artists.
  • The Children’s Book Award honors books written for readers under 12 years of age.
  • The Fiction Award recognizes longer works of fiction in novel or novella form;
  • The First Book Award honors a writer’s first published book in any category;
  • The Indigenous Writer Award honors the best book by an indigenous writer in any category;
  • The Nonfiction Award recognizes scholarly, research-based expository writing based on real events and real people;
  • The Creative Nonfiction Award recognizes books that present factual information on people, places or events using experiential techniques often associated with fiction, such as personal observation, narrative forms, and dramatic renderings of events;
  • The Poetry Award recognizes a collection of poetry by one author;
  • The Medicine & Science Award recognizes works of nonfiction or fiction based on natural or physical sciences.
  • The Short Stories Award recognizes a collection of short fiction by a single author;
  • The Woman Writer Award honors the best book by a woman writer in any category;
  • The Young Adult Award honors books written for readers between 12 and 18 years of age
  • The Big Sky Award honors books also nominated in any other category written by authors currently living in Montana.

Winners for all Book Awards will be announced at an Awards event held in September 2022 in Billings, Montana. Each Book Award winner will receive a $500 award and commemorative plaque. The High Plains Book Award Board (the Board) reserves the right to determine there is no winning entry in a given category.


  • Nominated books must have been published for the first time in 2021. This is determined by the copyright date listed in the published work.
  • All entries must have an ISBN.
  • Nominated books must be written by an author or writing team currently living in the designated High Plains region or must be a literary work which examines and reflects life within that region.
  • Revised editions or new translations of previously published works are not eligible.
  • Books only published in digital form are not eligible.
  • Books must be provided in a print format.
  • Books nominated in the Poetry category must be at least 48 pages or longer.
  • Books nominated for the Big Sky Award must also be nominated in at least one other category. There is no charge for entering a book into the Big Sky Award category, but nominators must supply one (1) additional reader copy.
  • Books may be nominated in more than one Award category. For example, a work of fiction may also be the writer’s first book. Additional nomination fees and four (4) additional reader copies are required for each additional category in which a book is nominated.
  • Authors of nominated books must be living at the time of nomination.
  • The Board will review books for compliance with eligibility requirements. Board decisions regarding eligibility are final.


Nominations for the Book Awards must be submitted on the High Plains Book Awards website, between January 14, 2022 and March 11, 2022.

Book Award Nomination Process, Deadline and Fees:

  1. Each Book Award nomination must include a completed nomination form. Nominations for a single work in multiple categories may be submitted on the same form.
  2. Nomination forms, fees, and accompanying reader copies must be received at Billings Public Library by Friday, March 11, 2022 at 5:00 pm Mountain Standard Time. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE. Items postmarked by that date, but not yet received, will not be eligible. Failure to meet the deadline will disqualify a nomination from consideration. It may be desirable for nominators to use express shipping to ensure timely delivery, especially for shipments that involve crossing international borders.
  3. Nomination for a Book Award must be accompanied by a $50 fee and four (4) reader copies of the nominated work. Each additional nomination for a work in another category requires another $50 fee and an additional four (4) reading copies. For the Big Sky Award, no additional fee is required, but one (1) additional reader copy must be supplied. Payments must be made in US currency.
  4. Nomination fee payments may be made on the website or by check. Checks should be made payable to High Plains Book Awards. W-9 forms are available upon request. Reader copies should be shipped to: Carla Nordlund, High Plains Book Awards, Billings Public Library, 510 N 28th St, Billings, MT 59101.
  5. Nominators will receive email status updates only when a nomination is complete, with forms, fees, and reader copies all received.
  6. All reader copies of books submitted for nomination to the High Plains Book Awards become the property of the Board.

The High Plains Book Awards Board selects readers to evaluate all nominations and it identifies finalist books based upon reader evaluations. The Board selects judges to determine the winning entry in each category. The Board resolves any issues that may arise in the nomination, evaluation, finalist selection and judging process. All decisions of the Board are final. Winners for all Book Awards will be announced at an Awards event held in September 2022 in Billings, Montana. Each Book Award winner will receive a $500 award and commemorative plaque.

If you would like to be added to our email list to receive information about finalists and other news related to the Awards, please use the contact link to sign up. You will receive approximately 5 emails annually, and your contact information will not be shared.

Thanks for your interest in the High Plains Book Awards!

Questions? Please contact us through our the contact link.

    The Billings Public Library Board has established the High Plains Book Awards to recognize regional literary works which examine and reflect life on the High Plains, including the states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.


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