"A war of ideas can no more be won without books than a naval war can be won without ships. Books, like ships, have the toughest armor, the longest cruising range, and mount the most powerful guns. I hope that all who write and publish and sell and administer books will rededicate themselves to the single task of arming the mind and spirit of the American people with the strongest and most enduring weapons."
—President Franklin Roosevelt, in a letter to W. W. Norton, chairman of the Council on Books in Wartime, 1942
About the Prize
The future of America's role in the world will be determined, in large measure, by the depth of its citizens' knowledge and understanding of the Middle East. Books are the preferred form of expression for some of the most learned and informed scholars and observers of the region. In recent years, some influential works have profoundly shaped American ideas about the Middle East, affecting both policymakers in Washington, D.C., and interested observers throughout the country.
The Washington Institute Book Prize is awarded annually to three outstanding new books that have illuminated the Middle East for American readers. With this prize, The Washington Institute seeks to acknowledge the very best new works on the region and encourage authors and publishers to produce books of unique quality and insight.
The Washington Institute awards three prizes annually: a Gold Prize of $30,000, a Silver Prize of $15,000, and a Bronze Prize of $5,000. The selection of the winners is made by a distinguished jury, comprised of accomplished authors who are expert on the Middle East. Publishers may submit nonfiction books on any subject that bears on the modern Middle East or America's role in the region. The nearest deadline for submissions is May 1, 2013, for awards made the following autumn.
Past Prize Winners
The 2012 Washington Institute Book Prize recipients were The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square by Steven A. Cook (Gold Medal), The Anatomy of Israel's Survival, by Hirsh Goodman (Silver Medal), and Patriot of Persia, by Christopher de Bellaigue (Bronze Medal). To learn more about the 2012 recipients of the Washington Institute Book Prize, read or watch the award announcement.
The 2011 Washington Institute Book Prize recipients were The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and al-Qaeda by Peter L. Bergen (Gold Medal), The Road to Fatima Gate: The Beirut Spring, the Rise of Hizbollah, and the Iranian War against Israel by Michael J. Totten (Silver Medal), and Awakening Islam: The Politics of Religious Dissent in Contemporary Saudi Arabia by Stéphane Lacroix (Bronze Medal). To learn more about the 2011 recipients of the Washington Institute Book Prize, read the award announcement.
The 2010 Washington Institute Book Prize recipients were From Empathy to Denial: Arab Responses to the Holocaust by Meir Litvak and Esther Webman (Gold Medal), The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon's Life Struggle by Michael Young (Silver Medal), and Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World by Jeffrey Herf (Bronze Medal). To learn more about the 2010 recipients of the Washington Institute Book Prize, read the award announcement.
The 2009 Washington Institute Book Prize recipients were A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel by Allis and Ronald Radosh (Gold Medal), The Crisis of Islamic Civilization by Ali A. Allawi (Silver Medal), and Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East by Martin Indyk (Bronze Medal). To learn more about the 2009 recipients of the Washington Institute Book Prize, read the award announcement.
The 2008 Washington Institute Book Prize recipients were The Siege of Mecca by Yaroslav Trofimov (Gold Medal), Foxbats over Dimona by Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez (Silver Medal), and Worlds at War by Anthony Pagden (Bronze Medal). To learn more about the 2008 recipients of the Washington Institute Book Prize, read the award announcement.
Rules & Eligibility
New books published in the United States for the first time in English between May 1, 2012, and May 1, 2013, are eligible for the prize.
For more details, read the complete prize rules.
How to Enter
Publishers should complete an entry form (PDF) and mail or fax it with the appropriate entry fee. Entry forms must be postmarked no later than May 1, 2013.
May 1, 2013: Official entry forms, entry fee, and six (6) copies of each book or bound galley entered must be postmarked by this date.
Publishers wishing clarification with regard to any of the rules should contact the prize administrator at the following address:
The Washington Institute Book Prize
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20036