Rewards Beyond Publishing for Texas Writers

Two Texas establishments are looking to honor books authored by home state poets and fiction writers. Recently published writers from Texas or who write about Texas themes could be eligible for prizes ranging from twelve hundred dollars to six thousand dollars.

Texas Christian University's biennial TCU Texas Book Award, which offers a prize of five thousand dollars, is open until December 31 to books of prose "about Texas" that were published in 2009 and 2010. The award has recognized one writer of literary fiction or creative nonfiction since the inaugural prize in 2003, Stephen Harrigan's Gates of the Alamo (Knopf, 2000), which was set in nineteenth-century Texas (others have been given to research-based nonfiction writers).

The Texas Institute of Letters is also seeking literary standouts in poetry, short fiction, and the novel for its literary awards. The six-thousand-dollar Jesse H. Jones Award is given for a novel or short story collection, and two one-thousand-dollar awards are given for a first book of fiction and a published short story. One volume of poetry is recognized with the twelve-hundred-dollar Helen C. Smith Memoiral Award, and a writer of nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) will receive the Carr P. Collins Award of five thousand dollars. Eligible titles, published in 2010, should be submitted directly to the judges by January 8, 2011.

And for Texas writers of any publishing stripe longing for time to write? Now might be the time to check out the residency fellowships offered by the University of Texas at J. Frank Dobie's former ranch house west of Austin. The application deadline is January 15, 2011.