The Meadowlark Award, formerly given after an annual short-story writing contest for Montana college students, has been reconfigured as a biennial book award for women writers.
Under the new guidelines, the award’s $1,000 cash prize will be augmented with a book contract from Riverbend Publishing in Helena. The inaugural award will be presented in May 2015 and then on alternating years. The winning book will be published by Riverbend Publishing.
The award is open to women writers who have never published a book, and the book must be based in or substantially about Montana. It may be fiction or nonfiction, including memoirs, essays, adventure, travel, novels and short-story collections. Entries will be judged by the executors of the Meadowlark Award and by Chris Cauble, Riverbend’s publisher, with assistance from various Montana authors, editors and booksellers.
The award is named for the book “When the Meadowlark Sings,” by Nedra Sterry. Written when Sterry was 82 years old, “Meadowlark” is a memoir of growing up along Montana’s Hi-Line. Now in its seventh printing, the popular book has sold more than 10,000 copies. Before her death in 2013 at the age of 94, Sterry created the Meadowlark Award with an endowment from her book royalties. Her goal was to encourage women writers. The endowment is administered by the Montana State University-Northern Foundation.
Submission guidelines can be found on the Riverbend website, www.riverbendpublishing.com.