Established by the American Council of Learned Societies in 1891, this award is now administered by the American Academy of Religion. The winner receives $1,000 and recognition in a variety of AAR publications. View a list of past winners.
Eligible books must meet the following criteria:
Competition for the AAR Best First Book in the History of Religions is open to all books that meet the criteria listed above. An author’s membership in the AAR is not a necessary condition for successful participation. Nominations may be submitted by any person, publisher, or institution with the exception of the competition chair and jurors. Self-nominations and nominations by colleagues are accepted.
A complete submission includes (1) a letter of rationale and (2) a copy of the nominated book that is either mailed to the AAR office or submitted digitally through the submission form. Partial submissions will not be considered by the juries. All correspondence regarding the competition and copies of all books nominated should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books submitted for this award may also be submitted to any of the Awards for Excellence in the Study of Religion and/or the Religion and the Arts Book Award. Each submission must include a separate letter of rationale and copy of the book.
A brief rationale should be enclosed with each nomination. What makes the book an outstanding first monograph? What about the book signifies the promise of the author’s further contributions to the field? How does the submission affect the way you approach research, consider a tradition, or construct your teaching? Letters of rationale are submitted via the nomination form.
Publisher-generated nominations must identify someone in their publishing house who will serve as contact.
A print or digital copy of the nominated book is required for each submission. AAR will ask that additional copies be sent to jury members if the book is shortlisted for consideration. Books should be mailed to the following address:
American Academy of Religion
Attn: Best First Book Award
825 Houston Mill RD NE
Atlanta, GA 30329