Religious Book Awards for Publishers in 2023
knk is deeply invested in the religious publishing sector, among others, as our software functionality and professional expertise lends itself easily to mission-based publishers. So we thought it would be useful to create a guide for the religious book awards that are available for creators of faith-based books and media in 2023.
Most of the awards that we include are dedicated to Christian publishers, but we have also listed some of the premier awards for the Buddhist, Jewish, and Muslim faiths. Full disclosure: knk are members of the Association of Catholic Publishers (ACP), the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA), and the Protestant Church-Owned Publishers Association (PCPA).
Christian Religious Book Awards
The American Academy of Religion (AAR) is dedicated to the academic study of religion and offers Awards for Excellence in four categories, as well as a Best First Book prize in the History of Religions and an award for Religion and the Arts. The four categories for Excellence Awards are for Analytical-Descriptive Studies, Constructive-Reflective Studies, Historical Studies, and Textual Studies, including interpretations and translations.
Awarded by the Association of Catholic Publishers, its First, Second and Third place winners are awarded to publishers and authors of the best Catholic content, now in sixteen categories. Additionally, the Resource of The Year Award is determined by a separate panel of judges from among the sixteen first-place winners.
The American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) provides awards in eleven categories of Christian fiction to authors who are published through most traditional and independent channels in the previous calendar year. The ACFW’s mission is to inspire writers in the creative process, learn the craft and find the right audience. Their Annual Conference is planned for September 2022 in St Louis.
The Christian Author Awards recognizes preeminent new Christian authors who are independently published. Sponsored by Xulon Press, the registration deadline is in December.
The Christian Book Award® program recognizes the highest quality in Christian books and Bibles and is among the oldest and most prestigious awards program in the religious publishing industry. Presented annually to the finest in Christian publishing since 1978, the Christian Book Award® program honors the “Best of the Year” in 12 categories. The submission period is in September and the winner in each category is announced at the ECPA Leadership Summit each spring.
Sponsored by the Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA), this award seeks to promote small presses and independent author. Suitable for self-publishing authors, or those working with small publishers, it’s awarded by Christian retailers and readers in fourteen categories: General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Bible Study/Theology, Biography/Memoir, Christian Education, Christian Living, Devotional, Relationships/Family, Children 4 through 8, Children 8 through 12, Gift Books (such as coffee table books), Young Adult, and eBooks.
Each year, Christianity Today magazine honors books of interest to the Christian community. The main categories include Apologetics/Evangelism, Biblical Studies, Children & Youth, Christian Living/Discipleship, the Church/Pastoral Leadership, Culture and the Arts, Fiction, History/Biography, Missions/The Global Church, Politics and Public Life, Spiritual Formation, and Theology/Ethics. Submissions are evaluated by “a diverse panel of scholars, pastors, and other informed readers.”
ECPA presents The Christy Award® each year to honor the best in Christian fiction, recognizing the value and impact of the novel of faith in contemporary culture. Awarded in nine fiction categories, plus the Amplify Award and Book of the Year, submissions are accepted every March and winners are announced each fall at The Christy Award® Gala.
The purpose of the Catholic Press Awards is to acknowledge the outstanding work of Publishers and Communication members as they strive to further the mission of the Church. On a daily basis they inform, inspire and educate readers keeping them connected to their faith, and it is those contributions that are recognized through these awards.
The Conference on Christianity and Literature recognizes literary achievement in the form of awards given for lifetime achievement, best book in the field, the Margaret Patterson Hannay Service Award, and the Lionel Basney Award for the best article published each year in Christianity & Literature.
Illumination Award categories range from Bible Study and Devotional to family-oriented subjects like Education and Children’s Picture Books, and are open to all Christian-themed books written in English. As most book award contests recognize only titles released during the previous calendar year or two, they offer the Enduring Light medals to reward exemplary Christian-themed books published since the year 2000.
Top Shelf Book Cover Awards
Presented by ECPA, the Top Shelf Book Cover Awards honors the year’s best book designs in Christian publishing in four categories: Non-Fiction, Fiction, Children’s, and Bibles. Submissions are accepted from April through August and winners are presented each year at the annual ECPA PubU event.
Non-Christian Religious Book Awards
Lions Roar and Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDK) Organizations
The Lions Roar Organization announces several annual awards for excellence in Buddhist literature. They include The Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards and The Grawemeyer Religion Award, among others. BDK also offers cultural awards for the promotion of Buddhism.
Hosted by Muslimmatters.org, the awards celebrate Muslim voices in publishing, from mainstream publishers, Islamic publishers, and self-published authors. The MBRA takes in nominations from other readers and features a panel of Muslimah reviewers from Bookstagram. Winners are announced on Muslimmatters.org.
Inaugurated in 1950, the Awards are intended to recognize authors, and encourage reading, of outstanding English-language books of Jewish interest. Awards are presented in over eighteen categories, and the winning authors are celebrated at an annual gala in the year following the publication of the books under consideration.
MESA (Middle East Studies Association) Book Awards
MESA offers three annual book awards and also administers the Roger Owen Book Award for the best work in the subjects of economics, economic history, and political economy.