Writing Programs

Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award

Since 2015, The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut has sponsored The Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award. This prestigious writing honor, which comes with a significant financial award, will be presented to the author whose book, published in the previous calendar year that best embodies an “American voice,” not unlike Twain’s work on Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Best-selling author David Baldacci, a trustee on the Board of The Mark Twain House & Museum, and a driving force behind this new award said, “I can think of no better writer to honor in this way than Mark Twain, the man who was the voice of American literature.”

The grand prize is $25,000, given to a fictional work published in a calendar year that best captures a distinctly American voice. Two runners-up will each receive $1,000.

The contest is designed to promote Mark Twain’s legacy by acknowledging a work that speaks in a uniquely American voice. The winner is not required to imitate the style of Mark Twain or to write about Mark Twain.


The Mark Twain House and Museum will accept submissions until January 15, 2019.

Submission Checklist

1. Three copies of a single published book must be sent to:
The Mark Twain House
65 Forest Street
Hartford, CT 06105

2. Completed submission form. Click here to download.

3. $50 entry fee (check or money order made payable to: Mark Twain House).

Submissions are accepted from publishers, authors, librarians, agents, instructors, and “others” as indicated on the submission form. Please include the $50 application fee.

Contact information for both the publisher who is submitting and the author must be included on the submission form (name, address, phone, and email).

Novels and short-story collections will both be accepted. Self-published works will not be accepted.

Judging Process

The judges for the competition will be a panel of distinguished scholars and authors. Winners will be announced in the spring, with an awards ceremony at The Mark  Twain House & Museum in mid-May.

Additional Information

Author and Mark Twain House trustee David Baldacci is the impetus and benefactor of the competition and award. Trustee Roger Michel is the impetus and benefactor of the award ceremony.


Questions may be directed to Jennifer LaRue, Director of Writing Programs.