Zora Neale Hurston Award

About the Zora Neale Hurston Award
The award is given to an individual RUSA member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting African American literature.

Administered by:

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Award and Frequency

Given to an ALA member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting African American literature, the winner receives a $1,250 monetary prize to fund travel expenses to the ALA Annual Conference, two tickets to the United for Libraries author events: The Gala Author Tea and The Laugh’s On Us, two complete sets of Zora Neale Hurston’s books and audiobooks and a beautiful personalized plaque. 

*Monetary award amounts are subject to change without notice and are contingent upon donor funding supplied at the time the award is presented. Questions about these awards should be directed to the committee chairperson or to Leighann Wood, RUSA awards program coordinator, at lwood@ala.org.

This award is given out on an annual basis.


Candidates must be RUSA members. Self- nominations are welcome.

Applicant Responsibility

Must attend the ALA Annual Conference.

Application Instructions

Interested candidates must submit a nomination letter that describes their project along with the nomination form. Photos, booklists, screen captures, or other forms of illustration of the project must be included. In addition, candidates should submit a brief (250) word essay explaining how attending the annual conference will help further their efforts to support and promote African American literature.

Nomination materials should be submitted electronically to the committee chair.

Contact Information

Displaying active committee roster as of 09/26/2017. Last retrieved on 09/26/2017. Members can log in to view full contact information for committee members.

Selection Criteria

Candidates will be evaluated based on the quality and contribution of their project. Project examples include, but are not limited to, a program, display, collection building efforts, a special readers’ advisory focus, or innovation in service. Candidates will also be evaluated on the extent their projects promoted African American literature and highlighted its rich history and diversity. In addition, the candidate’s project should serve as a model for others, must be innovative and/or should advance service in this area. Candidates will also be evaluated based on the quality of their essay and the ideas expressed therein (clarity of content and form, clear goals and benefits of attendance, commitment to ALA and the library profession, enthusiasm, and potential growth perceived).