"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 Washington Institute Book Prize is awarded annually to 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. With gold ($25,000), silver ($15,000), and bronze ($5,000) prizes, it is one of the most lucrative literary awards in the world.
The selection of the winners is made by a distinguished jury of Middle East experts. Publishers may submit nonfiction books in English 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, 2016, for awards made the following autumn.
Past Prize Winners
The 2015 Washington Institute Book Prize recipients were Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947, by Bruce Hoffman (Gold Medal); Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel, by Anita Shapira (Silver Medal); and The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent and Sectarianism, by Toby Matthiesen. To learn more about the 2015 recipients of the Washington Institute Book Prize, read the award announcement.
Learn more about past Book Prize winners from 2008-2014.
Rules & Eligibility
New books published in the United States for the first time in English between May 1, 2015, and May 1, 2016, 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, 2016.
May 1, 2016: 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
1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036