The University of Illinois Press and the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) announce First Book Prize

Please direct all questions and submissions to:

Dawn Durante
Senior Acquisitions Editor
University of Illinois Press

The University of Illinois Press and the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) are pleased to continue the annual competition for the best dissertation or first book manuscript by a single author in the field of women's and gender studies. Applicants must be National Women's Studies Association members. The Press and NWSA seek nonfiction manuscripts that exemplify cutting-edge intersectional feminist scholarship, whether the area of focus is historical or contemporary. The competition is open to scholars from all disciplinary backgrounds, but the sponsoring organizations especially encourage work that speaks effectively across disciplines, and projects that offer new perspectives on concerns central to the field of women's and gender studies.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Activism
  • Coloniality, postcoloniality and neo-imperialism
  • Cultural production (media, film, music, literature)
  • Feminist knowledge production
  • Feminist pedagogy
  • Feminist politics
  • Feminist science and environmental studies
  • Feminist theory
  • Gender and disability
  • Gender and globalization
  • Gender and labor practices
  • Gender and militarism
  • Gender and queer sexuality
  • Gender and violence
  • Gendered experiences of people of color
  • Girls studies
  • Global and transnational feminisms
  • Institutions and public policies
  • Intersectionality
  • Theories and practices of coalition
  • Transgender studies
  • Women of color feminisms

If a winner of the competition is selected, he or she will receive a publication contract with the University of Illinois Press. Runners up may also be considered for publication with the University of Illinois Press. Submitted dissertations must have been completed and defended within the three years prior to submission. All submissions must be must be timestamped by 11:59p (central time) on June 1 and should include the following materials via email:

  • Current NWSA individual membership
  • Cover letter (be sure to indicate if any material from the manuscript has been previously published)
  • C.V.
  • Proposal, including a 4-5 page overview of the scope of the project and analysis of competing titles
  • Complete manuscript, at least 150 double spaced pages, 12 pt. Times New Roman font, saved as a PDF
  • Submit materials as attachments to a single email. In the email subject line, include “Last name_Year NWSA/UIP First Book Prize Submission.”

Cover letters should mention the competition and indicate if any material from the manuscript has been previously published. All submissions must be exclusive submissions to the University of Illinois Press for the duration of the contest, and finalists will be notified by the end of July. Please visit or for more information.

About the University of Illinois Press:

The University of Illinois Press supports the mission of the university through the worldwide dissemination of significant scholarship, striving to enhance and extend the reputation of the university. Through its publishing programs, the Press promotes research and education, enriches cultural and intellectual life, and fosters regional pride and accomplishments. For more information, please visit

About the NWSA:

Established in 1977, NWSA is a professional organization dedicated to leading the field of women's studies and gender studies, as well as its teaching, learning, research, and service wherever they be found. For more information, please visit

Past Book Prize Winners:

2019 Winner:
Shamara Wyllie Alhassan
Re-Membering the Maternal Goddess: Rastafari Women's Intellectual History and Activism in the Pan-African World

2018 Winners:
Wen Liu
Assembling Asian America: Psychological Technologies and Queer Subjectivities

Nishant Upadhyay
Indians on Indian Lands: Intersections of Race, Caste, and Indigeneity

2017 Winner:
Nicosia M. Shakes
Gender, Race and Performance Space: Women's Activism in Jamaican and South African Theatre

2017 Honorable Mention:
Elizabeth Verklan
Objects of Desire: Feminist Inquiry, Transnational Feminism, and Global Fashion

2016 Winner:
Michele Eggers
Embodying Inequality: The Criminalization of Women for Abortion in Chile

2015 Winner:
Erin L. Durban-Albrecht
Postcolonial Homophobia: United States Imperialism in Haiti and the Transnational Circulation of Antigay Sexual Politics

2014 Winner:
Ethel Tungohan
Migrant Care Worker Activism in Canada: From the Politics of Everyday Resistance to the Politics from Below

2013 Winner:

Christina Holmes
Ecological Borderlands: Body, Nature, and Spirit in Chicana Feminism

2012 Winner:

Sophie Richter-Devroe
Women's Political Activism in Palestine: Peacebuilding, Resistance, and Survival

2011 Winner:

Erica Lorraine Williams
Sex Tourism in Bahia: Ambiguous Entanglements