The National Book Development Board (NBDB) and Manila Critics Circle announce that the nominations for the 31st National Book Awards (NBA) is finally open.

Nominations for the Literary division shall include entries on Fiction, Non-Fiction Prose, Anthology, Literary Criticism/Literary History, Poetry, and Graphic Literature categories, while nominations for the Non-Literary division shall include Art, Professions, Social Sciences, Leisure, and Science categories. And for this year, we will be accepting entries for the E-books category under the Non-Literary division.

Please click "Read more" to view the full nomination/selection criteria for the 31st National Book Awards. Deadline of submissions are up until 30 April 2012. Books mailed from outside Manila postmarked 30 April 2012 will be accepted.

NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS

NOMINATION/SELECTION CRITERIA

General Guidelines and Definitions

1. Book: A printed and bound volume. The awards do not cover electronic books, except in a category specified below. Textbooks or books with exercises meant for classroom use are not considered books for purposes of the awards.

2. Eligible Book: A book copyrighted and published in the Philippines in the calendar year immediately preceding the year of the award is eligible. Except for books authored by members of the MCC and the BOJ, there are no restrictions as regard authorship; authors may be Filipinos or non-Filipinos, individuals or groups, dead or alive. Books published earlier or in the same year outside the country but published independently by a Philippine publisher in the calendar year preceding the year of the award are also eligible.

3. Ineligible Book: A reprint of a book already considered during a previous award year, a second or later edition (even if revised or enlarged), a book with plagiarized passages, a book that infringes on copyright, a book by a publisher not duly registered with the NBDB, a book without an international standard book number (ISBN), a book authored by an NBDB-appointed judge in the category s/he is judging, a book written by a National Artist for Literature, and any title authored by any member of the MCC are automatically disqualified from competing for the awards.

4. Nominated Book: A book may be nominated if it is better written and more significant than other books in its category. Writing includes mechanics or grammar, typographical errors, copy editing, structure of thought and ideas, and style. Significance includes original contribution to its field of study or interest, accuracy of data, and reader impact. The reputation of the publisher, distribution, and actual sales figures are irrelevant to the awards.

5. Design: Except for the award for Best Design, the design of a book is secondary to content in the selection of the finalists and winners, unless the design seriously hampers the delivery of the content.

6. Divisions: There shall be two divisions: Literary and Non-Literary, with specific categories within each division further described in these rules. In the Literary division, there are some categories that are open to books in three languages: English, Filipino, and Ilocano.

7. Publisher: A registered NBDB publisher, foundation, association, or
ongoing business engaged in publishing, developing and distributing printed
material, or entity that published a book for a special purpose may nominate a
book.

Small and independent publishers who are unable to register with the NBDB for lack of the required documents and/or ISBNs may still submit nominations to any of the categories in any of the divisions; however, they may only be awarded a Special Critics’ Citation and not a National Book Award.

Professional organizations and ongoing businesses that submit titles for consideration must also submit a copy of their SEC registration to the NBDB.

I. LITERARY DIVISION

1. Literary Categories

Literary Awards are given to books that include or are about creative writing. These include the following genres: Fiction, Nonfiction Prose, Anthology, Literary Criticism/Literary History, Poetry, and Graphic Literature in the following languages:
a) English;
b) Filipino; and
c) Ilocano.
Books published in Ilocano within the last three calendar years (2009-2011) will be accepted for this year’s awards.

1.1 Fiction (Novel) – a book that contains a full-length story of at least 50,000 words.

A nominated book offers a narrative that follows the conventions of the writing of long literary fiction, such as plurisignification, logical structure, consistency of characterization, and precision in the use of language and literary devices. The book may deliberately challenge these conventions, but there should be clear evidence that the novelist has done so not out of ignorance but out of deep knowledge of the tradition of the novel.

A winning book both delights and instructs, offering breadth and depth comparable to the Philippine novels earlier given National Book Awards. If two or more books are tied for the award, the one that is better written in terms of literary quality is declared the winner.

1.2 Fiction (Short Fiction) – a book that contains a collection of stories resolved in less than 50,000 words each.

A nominated book is generally written in prose or a narrative format.

A nominated book offers narratives that follow the conventions of the writing of literary fiction, such as plurisignification, logical structure, consistency of characterization, and precision in the use of language and literary devices.

A winning book contains stories that all both delight and instruct, offering breadth and depth comparable to the Philippine books of short stories earlier given National Book Awards. If two or more books are tied for the award, the one that is better written in terms of literary quality, especially one in which the stories form a distinct whole when read together, is declared the winner.

1.3 Nonfiction Prose – A full-length nonfictional work or collection of short nonfictional works, including personal essays, autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, and other genres included in the broad category of creative nonfiction.

If two or more books are tied for the award, the one that is better written in terms of literary quality is declared the winner.

Just in case there is a full length and a collection of essays competing for the award, and they are both deserving of the award, both will be given National Book Awards.

1.4 Anthology – a book that contains a collection of literary works written by several writers chosen by a compiler/editor or compilers/editors. It may be a collection of poems, short stories, plays, short novels, or creative nonfiction pieces.

A nominated book contains literary pieces that are all of outstanding literary quality, that contribute to an overall theme or impression, and that are arranged in a clearly deliberate and purposeful order.

A winning book is consistently delightful and instructive, offering breadth and depth comparable to the Philippine anthologies earlier given National Book Awards. If two or more books are tied for the award, the one that is better written in terms of literary quality is declared the winner.

1.5 Literary Criticism/Literary History – a book that contains either a continuous work or several articles in the field of literary criticism, literary theory, or literary history.

A nominated book shows evidence of the author's having taken into account the latest books in literary theory, both local and foreign. The book must apply tools derived from contemporary theory to texts created by Philippine writers, though it could also contain analyses of works by non-Philippine writers.

A winning book is at the cutting-edge of literary theory, criticism, or history, exploring new areas of scholarship or reading that goes beyond what is already available in academic circles. If two or more books are tied for the award, the one that offers a new literary theory or a new component of an existing literary theory or presents a new reading of texts is declared the winner.

1.6 Poetry – a book that contains either a continuous poem or several poems.

A nominated book offers poems that follow the conventions of poetry, whether of traditional, modern, or avant-garde poetry, including but not limited to the interaction of sound and sense, profound sensibility, and awareness of poetic genres.

A winning book offers fresh insights into the human condition, particularly the condition of Filipinos inside or outside the country.

1.7 Graphic Literature – a book that contains autobiography, creative nonfiction, fiction, or other literary genre, but in graphic or illustrated, rather than purely verbal form.

A nominated book offers a narrative or anthology of narratives that follows the conventions of the writing of literary graphic fiction, such as congruence of verbal and illustrated content, logical structure, consistency of characterization, and precision in the use of visual and literary devices.

A winning book both delights and instructs, offering breadth and depth comparable to the Philippine graphic novels, graphic anthologies, or comic books earlier given National Book Awards. If the book is a collection of separate texts, there should be a unifying theme or motif among these texts. If two or more books are tied for the award, the one that is better written in terms of literary quality is declared the winner.

2. Nomination

Any publisher defined in the General Guidelines and Definitions registered with the National Book Development Board (NBDB) may nominate a literary title as defined above, published in the previous year (except for those books published in Ilocano), by sending a letter of nomination and by submitting an initial six (6) copies of that title for consideration of a chosen literary organization in the above categories, in English, Filipino, or any other language. The publisher must clearly state in the letter of nomination under which category he wants his title considered.

The 6 initial copies shall go to the following:
a. Each member of the Prescreening Committee;
b. The NBDB library; and
c. The NBDB-chosen design outfit/book designer.

3. Prescreening Committee

There will be four (4) persons designated to prescreen the nominated books in the Literary Division, who shall be:

3.1 A nominee from a literary organization or a person considered an expert in the field -The NBDB shall select a literary organization, which shall be asked to nominate one (1) member to serve in the prescreening committee of the NBA, or a known expert in the field to prescreen the nominations. In the case of a literary organization, it shall be given five (5) days from receipt of the letter asking them to nominate a member, after which the NBDB reserves the right to select another literary organization;

3.2 A nominee of the NBDB- The NBDB shall nominate one (1) person of competent expertise, who shall also be the NBDB’s permanent judge for this division; and

3.3 Two members of the MCC- The MCC shall elect two (2) members from its ranks to be part of the prescreening committee, who shall not necessarily

be the same members of the prescreening committee in the other division but must be part of the BOJ.

Prescreening of books in Ilocano - The NBDB and the MCC shall nominate one (1) judge each who shall prescreen all the books in all the categories in these languages for the Literary Division. These judges must also necessarily be part of the BOJ of the Literary Division.

All meetings by the Prescreening Committee shall be scheduled beforehand by the NBDB and shall be documented by a member of the NBDB Secretariat.

4. Finalists

The Prescreening Committee shall select no more than five (5) titles per category, which 5 titles shall automatically be considered finalists from which a winner for that particular category shall be chosen. The choice of finalists by the Prescreening Committee shall be by majority vote of the members of the Prescreening Committee, and all decisions of the Prescreening Committee shall be final.

5. Notice to Finalists

Publishers of titles chosen as finalists by the Prescreening Committee shall be informed in writing by the NBDB that their titles have been chosen as finalists in the specific categories indicated, and shall be required to submit an additional five (5) copies of the books to

the NBDB. Non-submission of the required copies will disqualify the title from consideration by the BOJ.

The NBDB shall inform the BOJ no later than August 15, 2012, that the books to be the subject of final judging are ready for pick up at the NBDB office.

II. Non-Literary Division

1. Non-Literary Categories

Non-Literary Awards are given to books that do not include nor are about creative writing, except that such creative writing techniques may be used occasionally to enhance the text.

1.1. Art – a book that focuses on any of the art forms (including photography, film, and television), except literature. A collection of essays on art by a single author or by several authors, provided the essays are not primarily literary or creative, is classified under this category. For purposes of the awards, photojournalism is considered an art form.

A nominated book offers fresh and original insights into the work/s of a visual, performing, electronic, or other type of artist/s. If the book is a collection of separate texts, each text must have the characteristic listed above. A book featuring mostly photographs of artworks may be nominated if the prose portion is substantial.

A winning book is itself a work of art, blending design with content, style with the style of the artist/s discussed. If two or more books are tied for the award, the one that offers a more comprehensive account of the body of work of an artist or artists is declared the winner.

1.2 Professions - a book that focuses on law, medicine, accounting, engineering, or other professions requiring licensure examinations, and the application of these professions to daily life.

A nominated book is meant primarily for the general reading public and not for other professionals (such as lawyers, law students, doctors, medical students, engineers, and so on). It must offer accurate and useful advice based on existing laws, medical knowledge, or other professional practice. It must be well-written in terms of style, with a readability level as high or lower than that of educated non-professionals. If the book is a collection of separate texts, each text must have the characteristics listed above.

A winning book is a full-length text that does not falter in places but keeps a consistent tone. If two or more books are tied for the award, the one that focuses on lesser known aspects of the profession is declared the winner.

1.3 Social Sciences – a book in the area of any of the social sciences, including history, religious studies, and interdisciplinary studies.

A nominated book offers a fresh and original insight into its subject, in an expository style that displays correct and precise use of language, accuracy of data, extensiveness of research, and awareness of audience impact. If the book is a collection of separate texts, each text must have the characteristics listed above.

A winning book is a full-length text that does not falter in places but keeps a consistent tone. If two or more books are tied for the award, the one that focuses on less explored aspects of the social sciences is declared the winner.

1.4 Leisure – a book about travel, tourism, sports, sports management, food, fashion and other such areas.

A nominated book offers a fresh and original insight into its subject, in an expository style that displays correct and precise use of language, accuracy of data, extensiveness of research, and awareness of audience impact. If the book is a collection of separate texts, each text must have the characteristics listed above. A book featuring mostly photographs may be nominated if the prose portion is substantial.

A winning book is a full-length text that does not falter in places but keeps a consistent tone. If two or more books are tied for the award, the one that inspires more readers to take up a leisure activity or that offers newer or more information on leisure activity matters is declared the winner.

1.5 Science – a book in the area of any of the natural or physical sciences.

A nominated book is meant primarily for the general reading public and not for scientists or science students. It must be well-written in terms of style, with a readability level as high or lower than that of educated adults without science degrees. If the book is a collection of separate texts, each text must have the characteristics listed above.

A winning book is a full-length text that does not falter in places but keeps a consistent tone. If two or more books are tied for the award, the one that focuses on lesser known aspects of science is declared the winner.

1.6 eBooks – is a book-length publication in digital or electronic form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. There should be no equivalent print edition of the book previously available in the market. Original eBooks that may be ordered on a Print-On-Demand basis are eligible for this category.
A nominated eBook should be enhanced, i.e., not merely an electronic duplicate of a printed book. For example, there might be colored texts, colored photographs otherwise expensive to print, clickable table of contents or index, video, film clips, music, and the like. The platform in which the eBook is available is irrelevant to the award.
A winning eBook, like a winning printed book, offers fresh insight into its subject matter, is well-written, and delights the reader.
N.B. In order to nominate an entry in this category, the publisher must send the link and a password (if applicable) to the NBDB.

2. Nomination

Any publisher as defined in the Guidelines and Definitions may nominate a title published in the previous year, by submitting a letter of nomination for the above categories. A publisher who nominates a titles must also submit six (6) initial copies of that title for consideration of the judges. The publisher must clearly state in the letter of nomination under which category s/he wants the title considered.

Submissions by university departments must contain the signature of the head of the department, or an authorized department representative as designated by the dean of the college or the university president.

The 6 copies shall go to the following:
a. Each member of the Prescreening Committee;
b. The NBDB library; and
c. the NBDB-chosen design outfit or book designer.

3. Prescreening Committee

There will be four (4) persons designated to prescreen the nominated books in the whole Non-Literary Division, who shall be:

3.1 A nominee from a non-literary organization selected by the NBDB-The NBDB shall select a professional organization, university department, or an expert from the specific field to be part of the prescreening committee. In case of a professional organization or university department, it shall be asked to nominate one (1) member to serve in the prescreening committee of the NBA. The chosen professional organization or university department shall be given five (5) days from receipt of the letter asking them to nominate a member, after which the NBDB reserves the right to select another professional organization, university department, or an individual who is a known expert in the field;

3.2 A nominee of the NBDB- The NBDB shall nominate one (1) person of competent expertise, who shall also be the NBDB’s permanent judge for this division; and

3.3. Two members of the MCC- The MCC shall elect two (2) members from its ranks to be part of the prescreening committee, who shall not necessarily be the same members of the prescreening committee in the other division.

The Prescreening Committee shall choose no more than five (5) nominees by a majority vote to become finalists, which titles shall be elevated to the BOJ for consideration.

All meetings by the Prescreening Committee shall be scheduled beforehand by the NBDB and shall be documented by a member of the NBDB Secretariat.

III. Design

1. Design – the overall design of a book, including but not limited to the cover design, the choice of typefaces, the dimensions of the page, the lay-out, the type of paper, the binding, and the printing.

1.1. The award for Best Design is not intended to be limited to coffee table books; an inexpensive book without pictures or illustrations can be better designed than an expensive one with pictures or illustrations.

1.2. A nominated book combines all the elements of design into a coherent whole, supplementing but not supplanting the content of the book.

1.3. A winning book entices the reader to read the contents carefully while admiring the way the book looks. If two or more books are tied for the award, the one that offers a more innovative way to use the elements of design is declared the winner.

2. Prescreening Committee

There will be three (3) persons designated to prescreen all the nominated books in the Design category, who shall be:

2.1 An NBDB-chosen design outfit/book designer - The NBDB shall nominate one (1) person of competent expertise, who shall also be the NBDB’s permanent judge for this category; and

2.2 Two members of the MCC- The MCC shall elect two (2) members from its ranks to be part of the prescreening committee, who shall be the same members of the prescreening committee in the other divisions.

The Prescreening Committee shall choose no more than five (5) nominees by a majority vote to become finalists, which titles shall be elevated to the BOJ for consideration.

The Board of Judges

1. Composition

Every year, each Division of the National Book Awards shall be composed of a Board of Judges (BOJ). They are as follows:

Five (5) members of the Manila Critics Circle (MCC) to be designated by the MCC, two of whom shall be members of the Prescreening Committee of each division and in the design category; and

Five (5) judges nominated by the National Book Development Board (NBDB), three (3) of whom shall be the NBDB-nominated members of the Prescreening Committee for each language in the Literary division, who shall also be designated as the NBDB’s permanent judge in the BOJ for the Literary division, and one (1) designated as Prescreening Committee member and NBDB’s permanent judge in the BOJ for the Non-Literary division. The fifth judge shall be the NBDB’s category judge, who shall be the designated expert in each category.

The BOJ shall be chaired by the Chair of the NBDB, who shall vote only in case of a tie. In case the Chair of the NBDB is not available, the Chair of the MCC shall act as Chair of the BOJ and shall vote only in case of a tie, even if s/he is a member of either the Prescreening Committee or the BOJ or both.

The MCC may designate among themselves the MCC member of the BOJ for each category of both the literary and non-literary divisions; however, the MCC-designated members of the Prescreening Committee shall always be part of the BOJ for the particular divisions they screened.

The NBDB reserves the right to nominate a different judge for each category within any division, depending on the expertise of the chosen judge, who may or may not be the same judge nominated by the NBDB-chosen prescreening organization.

2. Voting

Each member of the BOJ, except for the Chair when there is no tie, is entitled to one (1) vote. A vote must be explained verbally during the voting process, taking into consideration factors that determine the quality of the title. A title in all categories of both divisions must be voted upon by the majority of the BOJ to win. All decisions of the BOJ are final.

3. Meetings

Meetings of the BOJ shall be held at the NBDB Conference Room or at any designated place agreed upon beforehand by the members of the BOJ with the agreement of the NBDB.

Minutes of every meeting by the BOJ shall be taken by a member of the NBDB Secretariat, who shall keep the minutes in a confidential file within the premises of the NBDB.

4. Deadline for Winners

A winner for each category must be determined by October 15, 2012. The winner of each category, except Publisher of the Year, will receive a cash prize of Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00), which will be awarded to the author or book designer, as the case may be, and not to the publisher. Citations, including the Special Critics’ Prize, do not win cash prizes. The Special Critics’ Prize will be given by the Manila Critics Circle to books either not nominated by their publishers or books published by publishers not registered with the NBDB. In no case may the Special Critics’ Prize be given to books that were nominated but were not chosen by either the Prescreening Committee or the BOJ or both.

There will be Special Awards; such as Juan C. Laya Prize, Alfonso T. Ongpin Prize, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Prize, and Isagani R. Cruz Prize, which will be chosen from among the winners of the National Book Awards.

Please address submissions to:

The Executive Director
c/o the Accreditation and Incentives Division
National Book Development Board
2/F National Printing Office Building
EDSA corner NIA Northside Road
Diliman, Quezon City 1100

The deadline for submissions is on April 30, 2012. Books mailed from outside Manila will be accepted if the copies and forms are postmarked April 30, 2012.