Publishers (including trade, university, and small presses), agents, readers, or authors may submit books published in 2015 by living writers.

After each nominated eligible book is evaluated by three Chautauquan reviewers, the shortlist and winner are chosen by a three-member, independent, anonymous jury.


The Fortunes wins 2017 Chautauqua PrizeCHQPrize 2017Winner

Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce The Fortunes (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Peter Ho Davies as the 2017 winner of The Chautauqua Prize. 

As author of the winning book, Davies receives $7,500 and all travel and expenses for himself and his family for a one-week summer residency at CHQ from July 8 to 15, 2017.  A public reading will take place at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, 2017 in the Hall of Philosophy.

Davies said he first came across the term “Chautauqua” as a college student reading Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in a class on the philosophy of science. 

“In a rare case of a jacket blurb coming true it really did ‘change my life.’ I was a physics major, at the time, with mostly suppressed literary ambitions but Pirsig's passionate fusion of the literary and scientific, of feeling and thought, was one of the things that inspired me to return to writing,” Davies said. "It means a lot to me all these years later, and shortly after Pirsig's death, to win The Chautauqua Prize. … I'm so honored and heartened by this award, honored to become a part of CHQ's long literary tradition, and heartened that a book about the struggles of Chinese immigrants resonates with contemporary readers."

Press Kit:
Full press release | Book Cover | The Chautauqua Prize logo (pdf)

The Chautauqua Prize 2017 Finalists

 TheGeneralVSThePresident HWBrands finalist

BloodRiverRising VictoriaPopeHubbell finalist

UndergroundAirlines BenHWinters finalist

AmericanCharacter ColinWoodard finalist

The General vs. The President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War
by H.W. Brands (Doubleday)

Blood River Rising: The Thompson-Crimson Feud of the 1920s
by Victoria Pope Hubbell (Iris Press)

Underground Airlines
by Ben H. Winters (Mulholland Books)

American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good
by Colin Woodard (Viking)

 TheSongPoet KaoKaliaYang finalist

The Song Poet:
A Memoir of My Father
by Kao Kalia Yang
(Metropolitan Books)

Press Kit:
Full press release | The Chautauqua Prize logo (pdf)




2018 Chautauqua Prize Entry Form




  1. Eligible books are those published first, or simultaneously, in the United States, in English, in 2017, and made available in hardcover or bound paperback form for purchase by the general public. Date of first publication, not copyright date, applies.
  2. Full-length books of fiction and narrative/literary nonfiction are eligible. Nonfiction may include history, science, religion, memoir, biography, journalism, and all sub-genres of creative nonfiction.
  3. Collections of short stories and collections of essays by one author are eligible.
  4. Authors who have or have not been honored previously at Chautauqua Institution, and who have won or have not won other book awards, are eligible.
  5. Any author of an eligible book, including previous winners, is eligible for consideration each year.
  6. Authors are eligible to receive the prize without regard to nationality or residence.
  7. The author must be living at the time of the closing date for entries (December 15, 2017). In the case of a book by two authors, at least one of the authors must be alive on this date.
  8. Several chapters may have been published previously in magazines or journals, but most of the work must be original to the nominated book with the exception of short story and essay collections.
  9. The following books are not eligible:
    1. An English translation of a book written originally in any other language is not eligible.
    2. Self-published books are not eligible.
    3. Anonymous authors are not eligible.
    4. Anthologies containing work written by multiple authors are not eligible.
    5. A reprint of a book published in a previous award year is not eligible.
    6. In general, cookbooks, self-help books (including inspirational literature), reference books, picture books, graphic novels, or children’s books are not eligible.
  10. In the event of a question as to eligibility, Chautauqua Institution will decide whether a book is eligible, and its decision will be binding. No correspondence will be required, and books and entry fees will not be returned.
  11. Selected longlist authors and publishers will be notified in February, and will be required to:
    1. Designate a week in summer 2018 when the author could accept The Chautauqua Prize at Chautauqua Institution (if selected), at which time the prize winner will give a 30-minute acceptance/reading at an event held in his or her honor.
    2. Grant permission (if selected) to reproduce portions of the book for CHQ publicity purposes, with no additional remuneration.
    3. Grant permission (if selected) for Chautauqua Institution to film his or her acceptance talk, and make it available to the public, for sale or not for sale, with no additional remuneration.
Updated Sept. 5, 2017