Call for Submissions


2021 Call for Submissions:

Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing

The Society for Humanistic Anthropology (SHA) announces the annual juried competition for the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing. The late Victor Turner devoted his career to seeking an accessible language that would reopen anthropology to the human subject, and the competition recognizes the innovative books that further this project. We seek graceful, accessible ethnographic writing which deeply explores its subject and contributes in innovative and engaging ways to the genre(s) of ethnography and the field of humanistic (and/or post-humanistic) anthropology.


A $1,000 first-place, a $500 second place and a $250 third-place prize will be awarded in autumn of 2021 (either via online SHA awards ceremony, or in person if the American Anthropological Association meetings are held as planned in Baltimore, November 17-21, 2021.)


  • Eligible ethnographic genres include single or co-authored book-length monographs, narratives, historical accounts, biographies, memoirs, dramas, and creative ethnography (including nonfiction, fiction, and poetic works); as well as single-authored collections of essays, short prose, or poems (sorry, no edited collections with multiple contributors).
  • Book publication year may be 2018, 2019, 2020, or 2021 (through the submission deadline). (We are allowing 2018 books an extra year of eligibility due to coronavirus; our 2022 contest will return to normal eligibility rules and include the years 2020-2022.)
  • Books must have been peer-reviewed independently of its author(s).
  • Books may be entered into the competition by authors, publishers, book editors, or colleagues. No formal letter of nomination is needed.
  • Books published in 2019-2020 entered in last year’s competition are welcome to be resubmitted for consideration again this year with the appropriate entry fee.


By April 1, 2021, Please:

  1. Complete your information in this ENTRY FORM
  2. Pay the entry fee
  3. Mail one copy of your book to each of the four (4) judges
  4. (optional) You may also submit a cover letter to (including author’s biographical sketch, circumstances surrounding the research/ writing of the book,)

Biographical information submitted will be used for presenting the winners and publicizing the results of the competition and will not be used for judging the quality of the entries.

If possible, given continuing coronavirus issues, please also arrange for the press to send an electronic copy of the book for judges to consult until physical books are received.  Thank you.


For authors who are already or become SHA members, the entry fee is $25/book. For authors who are not SHA members, the entry fee is $75/book. (Publishers: for all books you submit, please check with authors first to discover whether they are current SHA members and please encourage authors to join SHA). The fee may be paid either online here (log into Anthro Gateway to get the SHA member rate of $25), or by check (made out to the American Anthropological Association) with the Submission-Fee-Form sent to:

Kathy Redner, Controller
American Anthropological Association
2300 Clarendon Blvd, Suite 1301
Arlington, VA 22201-3386
Phone: 703.528.1902 ext. 1161
Fax: 703.528.3546

SUBMISSION: BOOKS (a total of 4 copies)

Send one copy of the book to be entered to each of the four judges:

Victor Turner Prize, c/o Petra Rethmann
Department of Anthropology
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S-4L9

Victor Turner Prize, c/o Joseph Michael Valente
1225 Haymaker Road
State College, PA 16801

Victor Turner Prize, c/o Sarah Wagner
Department of Anthropology
George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052

 Victor Turner Prize, c/o Charles Piot
732 9th Street, #612
Durham, NC 27705

The deadline for receipt of all required materials is April 1, 2021.


Additional 2021 Award in this contest, the Edie Turner First Book Prize in Ethnographic Writing.

Authors for whom their submission to the Victor Turner Prize is also their first book publication will also be eligible for consideration for the Edie Turner First Book Prize in Ethnographic Writing, a newly created award which recognizes Edie Turner’s support and mentorship of junior scholars. Up to two winners of the Edie Turner Prize may be selected at the discretion of the prize committee with an award of $250 per winner. Eligibility for this prize will not affect any book’s consideration for the Victor Turner Prize, and a book may win both awards. There is no separate entry form for the Edie Turner Prize.  

All inquiries should be directed to Dr. Petra Rethmann, prize coordinator, at