The CHS Book Award

The California Historical Society (CHS) and Heyday have established the California Historical Society Book Award for a book-length manuscript that makes an important contribution to both scholarship and to the greater community by deepening public understanding of some aspect of California history. The prize carries a $5,000 advance and publication in both print and e-book formats by CHS/Heyday, with an awards ceremony, ample promotion, and an author tour throughout the state.

The purpose of the award is to recognize and promote an exciting new literary work in celebration of California’s heritage. The ideal manuscript will inform the mind and delight the imagination of readers while generating a deeper understanding of California’s rich history. The work must adhere to high scholarly and literary standards and must be lively and engaging to general readers. In addition to conventional works of historical scholarship, other genres will be considered such as biographies, collections of letters or essays, creative nonfiction or other stimulating literary forms.


  • The topic should be broad enough to be of interest to readers throughout the state.
  • Authors with either manuscripts in progress or finished manuscripts are welcome to apply.
  • Manuscripts, when finished, should be at least 40,000 words. While open to other possibilities, preference will be given to manuscripts of fewer than 75,000 words.

HOW TO APPLY: Submissions Deadline Extended

Applications are due July 1, 2017. Please send the following material to in a single PDF:

  • A cover letter introducing yourself and your qualifications.
  • A brief description of your project.
  • An annotated table of contents.
  • A statement as to the need or desirability of photographs, maps, or other graphics with examples.
  • If the manuscript is not yet completed a statement that describes what has been done and a schedule for what still needs to be finished.
  • A sample chapter (double-spaced, standard font and font size).

The jury will consist of a panel of noted historians, scholars and publishing experts. Potential candidates may be contacted for additional information. The winner will be announced September 4, 2017. Publication will be approximately one year after a fully completed manuscript and all graphics are accepted.

2016 California Historical Society Book Award Winner

678 Mission Street
San Francisco
CA 94105
415.357.1848 voice
415.357.1850 fax
Gallery + Store
Tuesday – Sunday
11:00am to 5:00pm
Wednesday – Friday
1:00pm to 5:00pm
Monday – Friday
9:00am to 5:00pm