Mississippi Authors Awards

The Mississippi Authors Awards seek to recognize and encourage Mississippi authors and promote interest in local authors’ books, whether the books are about Mississippi or another subject.

Nominations / Criteria for the Award:

Below you will find criteria for award nominations. Each year nominations are accepted in February by the MLA Awards Committee Chair. The 2024 Committee Chair is Judy Hilkert, jrhilkert@hindscc.edu.

a. Awards may be presented in three categories: Adult Fiction; Adult Non-fiction; or Youth Fiction or Non-fiction; if meritorious works have been published in each category.

b. The honored author(s) must be a Mississippian by birth or have lived in Mississippi for at least five consecutive years.

c. An editor, illustrator, or translator may be considered.

d. The honored author(s) must be living.

e. The award(s) shall be presented for a specific work rather than a body of work.

f. To be eligible for consideration, a book must have been published within three calendar years preceding the year in which the award is made.

g. Each work should be judged on its overall quality, with consideration given to literary merit, style and technique, originality, grammar, and if applicable, accuracy, authenticity, and illustrations.

h. Nominations for works must be made by a current member of MLA to a committee member who will then bring the nomination to the full committee for consideration.

i. If there are no worthy nominations in a category, no award will be given.

j. Previous winners may be considered.

Mississippi Authors Links

Here are some links to websites about Mississippi’s rich literary heritage:

“The only document of its kind on the Internet, this comprehensive listing of Mississippi’s African-American authors is intended to assist researchers, graduate and undergraduate students, and primary and secondary students in their discovery and exploration of the state’s African-American writers. Funded by the Mississippi State University Office of Research, this project is ongoing, and the list is continually updated. It is hoped that established and emerging authors will continually be identified and added to this list by its compilers and by the literary community, whose input is always welcome.” – From the homepage

“Many twentieth-century writers were born in Mississippi or have spent an important part of their lives in the state. Some of the writers are world famous, while others are up-and-coming authors with a first novel that is getting much attention. Others are poets, short story writers, dramatists, essayists, or writers of historical novels or memoirs. Many have had movies made based on their work. All have contributed to the literary and cultural heritage of Mississippi. This web site provides up-to-date information about these writers as researched by the students of Starkville High School in Starkville, Mississippi.” – From the Mississippi Writers webpage

“The Mississippi Writers Page brings together in one place a wide assortment of information about Mississippi’s plethora of literary artists… At the heart of The Mississippi Writers Page are the Writer Listings, individual articles on Mississippi writers which include biographical and critical commentaries on the writers, a comprehensive list of their publications, media adaptations, a selective bibliography of critical resources, and an assortment of resources available on the Internet. .” – From the homepage

Book Medallions

In celebration of Mississippi’s rich literary heritage and in honor of all past, present and future award winners, the Mississippi Library Association has commissioned these Mississippi Authors Award Book Medallions. The Medallions were introduced at the MLA 2001 Annual Conference and can be purchased through MLA with all proceeds going to benefit the Association. To purchase Medallions, please print out this form and send it to the address below. Publishers can use the medallion for $100 per year starting in January and lasting for one fiscal year. Click here for the PDF version.


 Name ______________________________________________

 Address ____________________________________________

 City, State, Zip _______________________________________


 _____ Fiction (package of 10) – $5
 _____ Non-Fiction (package of 10) – $5
 _____ Special (package of 10) – $5
 _____ Complete set – Includes 2 packages of fiction, 2 packages of non-fiction and 1 package of special – $25
 _____ One year usage fee for Publishers – $100
 _____ Total price of all medallions ordered.

Please send check or money order payable to:

Mississippi Library Association
attn: Paula Bass
P.O. Box 13687
Jackson, MS 39236-3687



2023 Kelly Mustian, The Girls in the Stilt House

2022 Susan Farris, The Gravediggers Guild

2021 Paige Braddock, Love Letters to Jane's World

2020 Joe Edd Morris, The Prison

2019 Tiffany Quay Tyson, The Past is Never

2018 Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing

2017 Greg Iles - Natchez Burning

2016 Kiese Laymon – Long Division

2015 Carey Richard – Poppy Field Diary

Michael Farris Smith – Rivers

Julie Cantrell – Into the Free

2012 Ramona Bridges – Sweet By and By

2011 Mary Anna Evans – Floodgates

2010 Deborah Johnson – The Air Between Us

2009 Kathryn Stockett – The Help (2009), published by Putnam.

2008 Robert Dalby – Kissing Babies at the Piggly Wiggly (2007), G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

2007 Laura Evans – The Redemption of Nettie Sykes (2005), Xlibris.

2006 Bev Marshall – Right as Rain

2005 Charlaine Harris – Club Dead

2004 Davis L. Temple Jr. – Two Letters Then Booger Den: Land of Dark Waters

2003 Joe Edd Morris – Land Where My Fathers Died

2002 Bill Fitzhugh – Cross Dressing

2001 Martin Hegwood – Green-eyed Hurricane

2000 Steve Yarbrough – Oxygen Man

1999 Nevada Barr – Firestorm

1998 Howard Bahr – Black Flower

1997 Cathy Adams – Other Autumns

1996 Dorothy Shawhan – Lizzie

1995 Greg Iles – Black Cross

1994 Lewis Nordan – Wolf Whistle

1993 Donna Tartt – The Secret History

1992 John Grisham – The Firm

1991 Ellen Gilchrist – I Cannot Get You Close Enough

1990 Larry Brown – Dirty Work

1989 Ellen Douglas - Can't Quit You Baby

1988 Terry Cline – Quarry

1987 Richard Ford – Sportswriter


2023 Aimee Nezhukumatathil ,World of Wonders

2022 Natasha Tretheway, Memorial Drive: A Memoir

2021 Sherye Green and Mildred Janzen, Surviving Hitler, Evading Stalin

2020 Kiese Laymon, Heavy: An American Memoir

2019 Tena Clark, Southern Discomfort: A Memoir


John F. Marszalek, David S. Nolen, and Loui P. Gallo, The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

2017 Richard Grant - Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta

2016 Suzanne Marrs – Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross


2015 John Hailman – From Midnight to Guntown

2014 Robert Khayat – The Education of a Lifetime

2013 Carolyn Brown – A Daring Life: A Biography of Eudora Welty Special
2012 Stokes McMillan – One Night of Madness

2011 Ellis Anderson – Under Surge Under Siege

2010 Chris Myers Asch – The Senator and the Sharecropper: the Freedom Struggles of James O. Eastland and Fannie Lou Hamer

2009 Gerard Helferich – High Cotton: Four Seasons in the Mississippi Delta (2007), published by Counterpoint.

2008 Walt Grayson – Looking around Mississippi (2007), Donning Company Publishers.

2007 Andrew P. Mullins, Jr. – The Measure of Our Days: Writings by William F. Winter (2006), University Press of Mississippi.

2006 Suzanne Marrs – Eudora Welty: A Biography

2005 Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays – Being dead is no excuse

2004 Minor Ferris Buchanan – Holt Collier: His Life, His Roosevelt Hunts, and the Origin of the Teddy Bear

2003 Ruth Williams – Younger Than That Now

2002 R. Scott Brunner – Due South: Dispatches from Down Home

2001 Norman Winter – Mississippi Gardener’s Guide

2000 Edward Cohen – Peddler’s Grandson

1999 Elizabeth Spencer – Landscapes of the Heart

1998 Clarice T. Campbell – Civil Rights Chronicle: Letters from the South

1997 Mary Carol Miller – Lost Mansions of Mississippi

1996 Majorue Spruill – New Women of the South

1995 Anne A. Lipscomb and Kathleen S. Hutchison – Tracing your Mississippi Ancestor

1994 John Marzalek – Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order

1993 Clifton Taulbert – Last Train North

1992 Charles Wilson and William Ferris – Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

1991 Melany Neilson – Even Mississippi

1990 Willie Morris – Homecoming

1989 Margaret Walker – Richard Wright: Daemonic Genius

1988 Felder Rushing – Gardening Southern Style

1987 Eudora Welty – One Writer’s Beginnings


2023 J. Dillard, J. D. and the Great Barber Battle

2022 David W. Walker, The Witch's Tower

2021 Corabel Shofner, Almost Paradise

2020 Jo Watson Hackl, Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe

2019 Linda Williams Jackson, Midnight Without a Moon   

2018 Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

2017 Matthew Clark Smith - Small Wonders: Jean-Henri Fabre and His World of Insects

2016 Hester Bass – Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama

2015 Carolyn J. Brown – Song of My Life


2013 Augusta Scattergood – Glory Be

2012 Margaret McMullan – Sources of Light

2011 Hester Bass for Children’s Literature – The Secret World of Walter Anderson

2010 Sarah Campbell for Children’s Literature – Wolfsnail: a Backyard Predator

2008 Sherry Pace – Historic Churches of Mississippi (2007), University Press of Mississippi.

2006 Margaret McMullan – How I Found the Strong

2005 Harris Barnes – Cotton: a 50 year pictorial history: the photographs of Harris Barnes

2004 Freddi Williams Evans for Children’s Literature – A Bus of Our Own

2003 Wyatt Waters for Art – Southern Palate

2001 Maude Schuyler Clay for Photography – Delta Land

2000 Laurie Parker for Juvenile Literature – Everywhere in Mississippi and Mississippi Alphabet

1999 Peggy Prenshaw for Editorship

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