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Humanities Montana Announces Call for Nominations for Montana Center for the Book Prize


May 6, 2020

On May 1, Humanities Montana announced that nominations are now open for the annual Montana Center for the Book (MCB) Prize. Up to five award-winning programs will receive $1,000 cash in recognition of their creative and wide-reaching literary programming. Programs such as family reading groups that promote youth literacy, reading series that encourage active engagement with the literary arts, or high school workshops that support student participation are all eligible. Organizations and libraries can also self-nominate. The deadline to submit nomination letters is July 15.

With a mission to promote an awareness of books, writing, reading, the book arts, publishing, and literacy in Montana, the MCB is a program of Humanities Montana and the state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Presented to up to five Montana-based organizations that offer creative and wide-reaching literary programming, the MCB Prize with its $1,000 cash award recognizes and supports programs that celebrate literature and give people increased access to books and writers.

While ongoing programs are eligible for nomination and organizations may nominate themselves for the Prize, the Prize is awarded for work already completed, not activities planned for the future. Because the MCB Prize is not a grant for future use, the cash award may be used for any purpose and does not require any reporting regarding its use. Prize recipients are chosen by the MCB advisory committee and the Humanities Montana board of directors.

In awarding the MCB Prize, the Montana Center for the Book prioritizes geographic diversity with a special emphasis on organizations that reach rural populations. While qualifying programs do not have to be free, the MCB does prefer low- or no-cost programs. Examples of prize-worthy activities include mini-festivals, literacy promotion, One Book programs, Little Free Library programs, and reading/writing workshops.

From a large volume of 2019 nominations, the Center for the Book Advisory Committee selected five recipients for the MCB Prize; two of those recipients were

the Browning High School Rising Voices Poetry Club and the Free Verse Project in Missoula.

The Browning High School Rising Voices Poetry Club is a weekly gathering for students to share their work, offer encouragement, and hone the craft of writing. The afterschool sessions culminate with an end of the year celebration where students, staff, and community members gather to listen to students share their work and celebrate their creative efforts. Over the years, students have had the opportunity to work with published writers and have, themselves, been published in professional journals.

The Free Verse Project brings creative writing instruction and encouragement to Montana’s juvenile detention centers. The Project is active in Missoula County Juvenile Detention Center, the Billings Juvenile Detention Center, Billings Shelter Care, and Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility in Miles City. In addition, in 2018, Free Verse partnered with Billings-area writers and Second Season to bring together youth in detention centers with students from local high schools. Their efforts resulted in a published anthology of student work, “I Am Montana: Student Reflections on Identity and Place.”

Anyone interested in submitting a nomination should consider the following steps:

1) Describe the program being nominated.

• What does the program do? Why was the program created? Where does the program take place? When does the program occur? Who makes the program happen?

• Who does the program serve? How many people are affected by the program?

• History of the program, future plans for the program, including any hopes for expansions/changes.

• How is the program funded?

2) Describe the organization that presents the program.

• Include a brief version of the mission statement, including the organization’s status (government agency, non-profit, commercial, etc.).

• Organization structure—number of staff, volunteers, board.

Armed with that information and using the online nomination form, applicants should submit their documents by July 15, 2020. The online nomination form is available at

Any questions should be directed to Kim Anderson, Director of Programs and Grants, at Humanities Montana by phoning 406-243-6022 or emailing


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