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AFS Botkin and Hurston Prize Deadlines Approaching

Wednesday, July 29, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tim Lloyd

The deadlines for two AFS prizes, the Benjamin A. Botkin Prize and the Zora Neale Hurston Prize, are approaching.

Benjamin A. Botkin Prize

Each year, the Public Programs Section of the American Folklore Society joins with the AFS Executive Board to award the Benjamin A. Botkin Prize of $500 to an individual for significant lifetime achievement in public folklore.
This prize is given in recognition of the work of Benjamin A. Botkin (1901-1975). Eminent New Deal-era folklorist, national folklore editor of the Federal Writers’ Project in 1938-1939, advocate for the public responsibilities of folklorists, author and compiler of many publications on American folklore for general audiences, and head of the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress from 1942 to 1945, Botkin has had a major impact on the field of public folklore and on the public understanding of folklore.
The review criteria are:

•Engagement of a broad public audience in the materials of folklore
•Impact on the field of public folklore: development of models, methodology, visibility, advocacy
•Impact on communities/constituents and their traditional culture
•Contributions to the body of materials of folklore/public folklore
•Quality of artistry in presentation: writing, photography, stagecraft, etc.
•Quality of scholarship
•Impact on the discipline of folklore, its theories and methodology
•Quality/adequacy of nomination package itself
•Breadth of support, as evidenced by letters from community members and non-folklorists in addition to folklore colleagues
The next deadline for nominations is September 1, 2015. Please direct nominations, as well as your questions, to Botkin Prize Committee Chair Nancy Groce of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (; 202/707-1744).
Nominations should include a letter of nomination; a one- or two-page biography or resume of the nominee; three to five letters of support from a broad range of people, including community members who have benefited from the nominee's work and people from outside the folklore field in addition to colleagues. Letters should specifically address the review criteria listed above and should explain how the nominee has taken folklore to a broad public audience.
All nomination letters and support material must be submitted in electronic format so they can be distributed easily and quickly to the committee members. Nominations remain active for three years. Previous nominators should contact Groce to ensure that their nominations are still in the pool, to arrange to send electronic versions of materials previously sent in hard copy, and to inquire about adding new or updated materials to those nominations.
For a list of previous Botkin Prize recipients, visit

Zora Neale Hurston Prize

This prize of $100 is named for the pioneering folklorist, ethnographer, and creative writer who lived from 1891 to 1960, worked in and wrote extensively about African American communities throughout the southern U.S., and is internationally known for her folklore collection Mules and Men (1935) and her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), as well as other notable works. The prize is given to a graduate or undergraduate student for the best work in any medium—including but not limited to papers, films, sound recordings, or exhibitions—on African American folklore.

Works submitted for prize consideration do not have to be about Hurston herself. One of the past prize-winning works was a graduate research paper that resulted in a thesis, another was a course paper written by a graduate student and later published as an article in the journal Southern Folklore, and more recently the prize was awarded to an ethnography project conducted by an undergraduate student for a senior seminar course.

The next deadline for nominations is August 31, 2015.
To submit an application for the prize, please send (as a single PDF) a cover letter and your paper, attached to an email, to AFS Executive Director Tim Lloyd at

For a list of previous Hurston Prize recipients, visit

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