Definition of Categories


  • A book containing recipes and/or other information about the preparation and cooking of food. Authors need not be current Florida residents; the book's content must primarily focus on Florida.

Florida Nonfiction

  • Florida Nonfiction includes Florida history, biography, autobiography, or memoir. Authors need not be current Florida residents; the book's content must primarily focus on Florida.
    • The Phillip and Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal Prize for Florida Nonfiction provides a $1,000 prize for the Gold Medal Winner of this category and serves as a tribute to the donor's parents, Phillip and Dana Zimmerman, recognizing their deep roots in Florida and their love of Florida's rich history and culture. 

General Fiction

  • The General Fiction category includes literary fiction and short story collections and has a word count requirement of at least 40,000 words.

General Nonfiction

  • Nonfiction books not about Florida. All authors must be Florida residents. Books fitting this category should be written in English for a general audience (i.e., without academic jargon). Submissions can be from the following broad areas:
    • "Humanities" (including philosophy, religion, language, arts, literature, rhetoric, biographies, and history)
    • "Science and Technology" (including the natural sciences, mathematics and applied sciences)
    • "Social Sciences" (including psychology, statistics, sociology, anthropology, geography, political science, economics, law, education, public administration, social services, communications, commerce, and folklore)
    • Reference books, bibliographies, textbooks, or edited anthologies will not be eligible.

Older Children's Literature

  • Older Children's Literature (age 7-12) includes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction books (with or without illustrations).
    • The Jean E. Lowrie Gold Medal For Older Children's Literature provides a $1,000 cash prize. This special award is in memory of Jean Lowrie, a tireless advocate for effective school librarianship through her career as a school librarian, faculty member, and director of the Western MichiganUniversity School of Librarianship, mentor, and founder of the International Association of School Librarianship. 


  • Books of poetry must be by a single author.
  • Chapbooks (a pocket-sized booklet) over twenty pages are eligible for submission within the Poetry: Chapbooks subcategory which awards a Gold Medal. If submitting a chapbook, please select the Poetry: Chapbooks subcategory within the application. 

Popular Fiction

  • Popular Fiction includes mystery, fantasy, romance, horror, science fiction, westerns, short story collections, and adventure.

Spanish Language

  • This category includes non-fiction, fiction, young adult literature, children's literature, and poetry for all ages written in the Spanish language.

Visual Arts

  • This category includes books that are predominantly visual or graphical in nature. This may include books of photography, art, museum or exhibition catalogs, or coffee-table books. Artist books, of which there is only one copy, are not eligible for this category. Authors need not be current Florida residents; book contents must primarily focus on Florida.
    • The Richard E. Rice Gold Medal Prize for Visual Arts supports a $500 prize for the Visual Arts Gold Medal Winner of the Florida Book Awards and serves as a tribute to Richard E. Rice, who suffered from life-altering arthritis since childhood and spent a large amount of time in the hospital. From his hospital room, Rice discovered his artistic talent at the age of four and became a lifelong artist. Creating artwork offered Rice comfort, strength, and joy, and this prize honors his talent and his commitment to art and to celebrating art and artists.

Young Adult Literature

  • Young Adult Literature (ages 12-19) includes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction books (with or without illustrations).

Young Children's Literature

  • Young Children's Literature (age 0-6) includes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction books (with or without illustrations).
    • ​​​​​​​The Gwen P. Reichert Gold Medal for Young Children's Literature provides a cash prize of $1,000. This special award, established in 2014, is in memory of Gwen P. Reichert and serves as a lasting tribute to honor her accomplishments as a rare book collector, nurturer of authors and their audience, and her commitment to children's education. 


Except for the Spanish Language category, all submissions must be in the English language.