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Northern California Book Awards

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BOOK REVIEWERS (NCBR), a volunteer group of book reviewers, book review editors, and book media hosts who read passionately and write about reading, have met regularly since 1981 to recommend and celebrate books by presenting the Northern California Book Awards. (See the 2019 NCBA page for the complete list of the finalists and winners for the 2019 Northern California Book Awards celebration.)

The 39th Annual Northern California Book Awards will take place in early August, 2020, at Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Main Library; please check back for exact date. The NCBAs honor the work of northern California authors and translators, and recognize exceptional service to the community by northern California writers and literary leaders through the Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award and NCBR Recognition Award. The Fred Cody Award-winner receives a $1,000 honorarium. Nominated books are available for sale and signing at the event, to benefit Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

The awards ceremony and reception are presented by the Northern California Book Reviewers and Poetry Flash, co-sponsored by PEN West (a chapter of PEN America), Mechanics' Institute Library and Chess Room (, Women's National Book Association-SF Chapter (, San Francisco Public Library, and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library (

Poetry Flash is the organizational home, awards producer, and fiscal sponsor for the Northern California Book Awards and NCBR. Poetry Flash, literary review and calendar, and literary event presenter, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Poetry Flash builds community through literary publishing and presenting.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Byron Spooner, Literary Director, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library; Joan Jasper, Curator of Public Programs, San Francisco Public Library; Sarah Rosedale, Deputy Director, Community Book Program, Reader’s Bookstore at the Main; Laura Sheppard, Director of Events, Mechanics' Institute; Words of the World Fund; Frances Phillips; Michael Larsen and Elizabeth Pomada. Thanks to all members of the Northern California Book Reviewers, a volunteer association.

Submission Guidelines for Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, Translation, and Children's Literature
Books written by authors based in northern California and published for the first time in 2019 are eligible for nomination. In the case of translations, the translator must live in northern California. In the case of children's picture books, the author of the text must live or be based in northern California. Authors may divide their time between two locales, e.g.: "She divides her time between San Francisco and Paris."

For this purpose, northern California includes Fresno and Big Sur. There are no fees or forms. Either the publisher or the author may send books for consideration.

Send three copies of each title to be considered by January 10, 2020. Earlier submissions are encouraged. Mail to: Northern California Book Awards, 1450 Fourth Street #4, Berkeley, CA 94710.

Be Part of the Process: Northern California Book Reviewers
Nominating committees in Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction (General and Creative), Children's Literature, and Translation read books by northern California authors. Eligible reviewers are always welcome to join Northern California Book Reviewers. Active reviewers in all literary genres based anywhere in northern California are encouraged to join us. Prospective members must have published three reviews in an established online or print publication.

Editors at newspapers and other periodicals that publish book reviews are encouraged to join. Librarians, book media hosts, and other book professionals who recommend and write about books are also eligible for membership.

Annual NCBR member dues are $25. Meetings are held in the winter and spring in San Francisco and Berkeley; you need not attend meetings to participate. Please contact Joyce Jenkins,, (510) 612-3958 or (510) 525-5476.

Become a Sponsor, Support NCBA
To support this work with a tax-deductible donation, send a check to Poetry Flash, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, earmarked for the NCBA, to Poetry Flash/NCBR, 1450 Fourth Street, #4, Berkeley, CA 94710. Or donate at, noting that your gift is intended for the book awards. For more information, email

If you represent a literary arts organization, media, or business, consider becoming a sponsor of the Northern California Book Awards. Your organization can be included in our list of sponsors. For a $500 contribution to the awards process, ceremony, and reception, your organization's name will appear on NCBA posters, postcards, flyers, and the event program. [The NCBA event program features brief reviews of each nominated title.] You will be asked to spread the word about the NCBA to your members, and to send invitations and notice of the awards and nominated books and authors to your organizational lists. Please contact for $250 sponsorship opportunities. The NCBR membership reserves the right to approve sponsorship requests.

The Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award is an annual $1,000 award honoring iconic northern California literary figures who continue the legacy of NCBR co-founder and legendary bookseller Fred Cody. To contribute to the Fred Cody Award Fund, please contact Joyce Jenkins, or, (510) 612-3958, or Frances Phillips,


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