"Wordharvest supports authors and encourages great writing."- Anne Hillerman and Jean Schaumberg

Tony Hillerman Prize Honors Best First Mystery Novel

Submission deadline June 1, 2015. 

The Territory

Sponsored by St. Martin's Press and WORDHARVEST, the Tony Hillerman Prize is awarded annually for the best first mystery set in the Southwest. The winner receives a contract with St. Martin's Press for publication of the novel and $10,000. Named after New Mexico's best known mystery author, the Tony Hillerman Prize competition is open to any professional or non-professional writer who has never been the author of a published mystery, or under contract with a publisher for publication of a mystery. Murder or another serious crime or crimes must be at the heart of the story, with the emphasis on the solution rather than the details of the crime. 

The prize was established in 2006 to honor Albuquerque mystery writer Hillerman and has been awarded for The Replacement Child by Christine Barber, The Ragged Edge of Nowhere by Roy Chaney, The Territory by Tricia Field, City of Saints by Andrew Hunt, and most recently to CB McKenzie for Bad Country, published in 2014. The newesst winner is John Fortunato’s novel Dark Reservations.  Learn more about the past winners and get tips about crafting a winning entry. 

A December 2012 review of City of Saints included an endorsement of the Hillerman Prize: 
“City of Saints, a local nickname for Salt Lake City, is the fourth novel to win the Tony Hillerman Prize designed to find unpublished authors whose novels are set in the Southwest. The prize has garnered a reputation for introducing excellent authors, such as Hunt, whose debut respects the memory of the late Hillerman, who died in 2008.” Sun Sentinel

Hillerman Prize Rules and Guidelines 

Only one manuscript entry is permitted per writer. All entries must be received or postmarked no later than June 1. All manuscripts submitted: a) must be original works of book length (no less than 220 typewritten pages or approximately 60,000 words) written in the English language by the contestants; b) must not violate the rights of any third party, and c) must generally follow these guidelines:  

1. Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story, and emphasis is on the solution rather than the details of the crime.

2. The story’s primary setting is the Southwestern United States, including at least one of the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.

3. All entries must be received or postmarked no later than June 1 and must include:

a) A double-spaced and neatly typed copy of the manuscript (photocopies are acceptable), with pages numbered consecutively listed from beginning to end. The author’s name should appear only on the title page, and otherwise not appear anywhere on the manuscript pages.

b) A letter or cover sheet containing the name, address, email address and telephone number of the contestant and the contestant's previous writing credits, if any.

4. All entries must be mailed to St. Martin's Press at:
St. Martin's Minotaur/THWC Competition, St. Martin's Minotaur
175 Fifth  Avenue,  New York, New York 10010

5. Each contestant must keep a copy of the manuscript for his or her own protection. St. Martin's Press will not be responsible for lost, stolen, or mislaid manuscripts. Because of the great volume of submissions we receive, the fact that judges are volunteers with full-time responsibilities elsewhere, and the fact that most writers now have the work in their computers, manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not send return postage or envelopes. St. Martin’s Press will not send confirmation of manuscripts as they are received. We advise sending the manuscript with tracking so you may confirm its delivery. No critical evaluation or commentary will be offered by the judges or the editorial staff of St. Martin's Press unless, in the sole opinion of the editorial staff evaluation or commentary is appropriate in the case of a manuscript being considered for publication.

6. Nominees will be selected by judges chosen by WORDHARVEST, the organizers of the Tony HillermanWriters Conference, with the assistance of editorial staff of St. Martin's Press. The winner will be chosen by St. Martin's editors. The decision of the editors as to the winner of the contest will be final. (The decision of the Competition's judges as to whether or not a manuscript qualifies will be final.) St. Martin's reserves the right not to select any winner if, in the sole opinion of the editors, none of the manuscripts submitted are of publishable quality.

7. An attempt will be made to notify the contest winner, if any, no later than October 1. If a winner is selected, St. Martin's Press will publish the winning manuscript by offering to enter into its standard form author's agreement with the contestant. The winner will receive an advance against future royalties of $10,000. Those terms of the offer not specified in the printed text of the St. Martin's Press standard form author's agreement will be determined by St. Martin's Press at its sole discretion. The contestant may request reasonable changes in the offered terms, but St. Martin's shall not be obligated to agree to any such changes. St. Martin's may, but will not be required to, consider for publication manuscripts submitted by other contestants. 

8. It is important that you submit your manuscript as early as possible. Our judges are volunteers who are extremely busy with their primary concerns, and it is inevitable that your submission will get a more careful reading if the judge does not have to contend with a flood of last-minute entries. However, it is not necessary to send it the most expensive way. We judge on-time delivery by the post-mark or equivalent, not by the date the judge receives the manuscript.

9. This competition is void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Good luck!

 

Christine Barber's winning bookcityofsaints