First Book Award Chair



The chair of the Subcommittee on the First Book Award (Charter: oversees the evaluation of books nominated for this award. The eligibility requirements, deadlines and criteria are found on the First Book Award webpage (

The chair is also an ex-officio member of the CAMWS Steering Committee on Awards and Scholarship (Charter:


Schedule of Duties for the First Book Award Chair:



Nominations are sent to the Chair, either by individuals or presses. Authors may self-nominate.


The Chair

  1. Consults with the Secretary/Treasurer to check membership status of each nominee and confirms the eligibility of each nominated book;
  2. Corresponds promptly with nominators to confirm receipt of nominations and the eligibility status of nominees;
  3. Confirms the preferred mailing address of each committee member for receipt of the nominated books.

Sept. 1:

Nominations for the award close.


The Chair

  1. Instructs nominees to have the publisher send one copy of the nominated book to each committee member, preferably by Sept. 1. Pdf versions are acceptable as temporary substitutes until a hard copy arrives. Two copies of each nominated book should also be sent to the CAMWS office.
  2. Monitors the books received (publishers have been known to bypass the eligibility review by sending books to the committee before they are asked to do so).

First week of September:

Contact with committee to begin the process.


The Chair

  1. Sends a list of the eligible nominated books to committee members, together with an outline of the process and timeline. The chair lists the eligible books and asks committee members to rank their preferences for the first round of reading (at this time committee members also declare any conflict of interest);
  2. Follows up with committee members to ensure that all have received the books;
  3. Assigns books for the first round of reading and notifies committee members of the Dec. 1 deadline for their reports. The books are assigned so that each book receives two reports. Reports consist of a numerical ranking plus a paragraph detailing strengths, weaknesses, contribution to the field, whether the book transcends normal expectations for a first book, etc. The numerical ranking is from 1-4 and may utilize fractions (e.g. 2.5).


December 1:

Members submit rankings and paragraphs for all books.


The Chair

  1. Calculates the rankings, compiles a document with all the scores and reports, and shares this with the committee;
  2. Moderates an email discussion on the list of top-ranked books;
  3. Assigns books for the second round. Members read any top-ranked books which they have not previously read.

 January 20:

Members submit rankings and reports on the second round.


The Chair calculates the rankings, compiles a second document with the scores and reports, and shares this with the committee.


Last week of January:

Members select the award recipient.


The Chair

  1. Moderates a discussion about which book(s) should receive the award (the committee has the opportunity but not the obligation to award two prizes);
  2. If necessary, arranges a conference by Skype in order to have further discussion;
  3. Once the committee has made the decision, the Chair writes to the Secretary-Treasurer to inform her/him of the decision
  4. Contacts the winner(s) to inform them about the award and request their presence at the annual meeting to receive the award (The Secretary-Treasurer also contacts the winner(s) and also writes to the publisher(s) and department chairs to encourage them to acknowledge the award on their website and/or with an ad in the CAMWS meeting program or sponsoring a break at the meeting).
  5. Writes a committee report summarizing the process and the reasons why the winner was selected, and circulates the draft to the committee for comment;
  6. Consults with the committee on any recommended changes to the First Book Award criteria, policies and procedures; transmits any recommendations and a rationale to the Chair of the Steering Committee on Awards and Scholarships.Review
  7. s for accuracy the finalized website language about the First Book Award for the following year.


February 1:

The Chair

  1. Transmits the final report to the Secretry-Treasurer and the Chair of the Steering Committee on Awards and Scholarships.
  2. Once the final report has been sent, contacts those nominees who did not receive the award to thank them for their submissions and inform them of the outcome.
  3. After they have been notified, writes the “Citation” for the Business meeting and a press release for the CAMWS website and provides these to the Secretary-Treasurer.


Annual Meeting:

The Chair

  1. Attends lunch (typically midday Thursday) with members of the Sub-Committee to review the year's work and make recommendatiions for the future
  2. Attends a meeting of the Steering Committee
  3. Attends the Business Meeting on Saturday morning and announces the winner(s) or delegates another member of the Sub-Committe to do so