Judge Application

Judge ApplicationJudge applications for the 2017/2018 Awards season are now closed.

The Minnesota Book Awards is committed to having a broad base of experience on judge panels. Judges are selected from across the state to include a diversity of professional experience, educational background, ethnicity, age, and gender. Previous judges are welcome to apply.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Professional experience, volunteer experience, or in-depth knowledge related to the category for which you are applying
  • Must be available to attend the selection meeting at Augsburg College in Minneapolis (Preliminary: January 27 / Final: March 17)
  • Must not be a writer with a nominated book in the current year
  • Must not be a member of the staff, board, or committees of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library
  • Employees of publishers may only serve as judges for categories in which the publisher is not submitting a book that year

Judging Process

Preliminary Round: Finalist selection beginning in September and culminating at the end of January. Each of the nine award categories has a panel of three judges. The judges and a facilitator on each panel will meet on Saturday, January 27 to select the four finalists in each category.

Final Round: Category winner selection beginning in late January and culminating in early March. Each of the nine award categories has a panel of three judges. The judges and a facilitator on each panel will meet Saturday, March 17 to select the winner within each category.

The three overarching criteria, for all categories of submissions, are:

1) Literary/Artistic Merit (50%): Quality of writing should receive primary consideration in judging. In addition, the illustration, editing, and craft involved in the book’s creation may be important criteria in certain categories.

 2) Originality (30%): Originality in concept and execution is a primary consideration in selecting finalists. Finalist titles should demonstrate innovative artistic qualities, which in many cases will be specific to their genre or category.

3) Audience Appeal (20%): An award winner should have strong appeal to its target audience. The book should be judged on its effectiveness in engaging that particular readership.

These criteria, in addition to other considerations, are listed in the judging handbook.


  • Each judge has the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets to the Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony in April.
  • All judges will be acknowledged in the Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony program and on the The Friends’ website.