The Mark Twain House & Museum is accepting submissions of novels and short story collections through January 31, 2021 for the 2020 MARK TWAIN AMERICAN VOICE IN LITERATURE Award.

The MTAVL Award goes to a work of fiction published during the previous calendar year (in this case, January 1 – December 31, 2020) that best exemplifies or expresses a uniquely American voice, much in the way that Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn does. Jennifer LaRue, director of public programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum, says, “We’re not looking for works that mimic or pay homage to Twain, but rather those that speak in an authentic American voice about authentic American experience.”

The winning author receives a $25,000 cash award, funded by author David Baldacci.

The winner will be announced in July 2021, and an award ceremony will be held in Fall 2021. The award ceremony is sponsored by Bank of America.

Previous MTAVL Award recipients include Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous in 2019, Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing in 2018, Bill Beverly’s Dodgers in 2017, and T.C. Boyle’s The Harder They Come in 2016.

The entry fee is $50 per title; click here to make a payment and complete the submission form.


Submissions are accepted from publishers, authors, librarians, agents, instructors, and others; submitters are to indicate their role and provide contact information on the submission form.

Novels and short-story collections will both be accepted. Works of non-fiction and self-published works will not be accepted.


Due to COVID-19 concerns, we are NOT accepting hard copies of books as part of the initial submission process. Only DIGITAL submissions will be considered. The Mark Twain House & Museum will request multiple hard copies of those books that are included in the Short List of finalists, to be announced in April 2021.

The Mark Twain House & Museum may “call in” titles that have not been submitted by publishers. The MTH&M will then ask publishers to submit these titles for consideration; publishers may submit at their own discretion. The $50 fee applies to all call-in titles.

Each submission must be accompanied by a completed submission form and $50 entry fee.


Authors whose works are among the Short List of finalists must commit to taking part in the Fall 2021 award ceremony.

The Mark Twain House & Museum is keeping a close eye on the COVID-19 situation and employing best practices regarding health and safety when planning events, including the MTAVL Award Ceremony, and will determine at a later date whether that event will take place live at the Hartford, Connecticut museum or virtually.

For more information about the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, contact Jennifer LaRue, Director of Public Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum.




The Mark Twain House & Museum is the restored Hartford, Connecticut home where American author Samuel Clemens — Mark Twain — and his family lived from 1874 to 1891. Twain wrote his most important works, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, during the years he lived there. In addition to providing tours of Twain’s restored home, a National Historic Landmark, the institution offers activities and education programs that illuminate Twain’s literary legacy and provide information about his life and times.


Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign and its Travelers Arts Impact Grant program with major support from The Travelers Foundation.

For more information call 860-247-0998 or visit