- Member Journals
The CELJ Annual Awards
The CELJ Awards Competition
The Council of Editors of Learned Journals is pleased to invite the participation of CELJ members (whether new or longstanding) in our Awards Competition, which is organized under two broad headings:
I. The CELJ Award for Literary Achievement (1 category awarded each year)
II. The CELJ Awards for Scholarly Achievement (8 categories awarded each year)
Below you will find details about the contest—including advice on eligibility, descriptions of individual categories, guidelines for preparing your entry, and information about the awards ceremony.
The benefits are substantial. A CELJ award or citation gives independent testimony to your journal's quality and visibility. Public citations, read at the annual awards ceremony at the MLA Convention, are available for winners and runners-up to use when preparing promotional materials or approaching university administrators or granting agencies. The awards ceremony, too, is an excellent place to meet other editors and hear from distinguished colleagues giving keynote addresses on timely topics. Even if your own journal is not under consideration, please join us for the three CELJ sessions at MLA, which afford editors and staff members of literary and learned journals a rich opportunity to share experience, discuss issues of common concern, commiserate over challenges, and develop innovative solutions.
Rules of Eligibility for All Categories
Only current members of CELJ may enter the competition. No journal can compete in more than one category annually. Even 'hybrid journals' qualifying for categories in both the belletristic and the scholarly divisions are only allowed one entry. Furthermore, no journal is eligible for an award more than once every three-year cycle. Thus, no journal that received an award in 2009 will be eligible for another award until 2012; for 2010 honorees, next eligible date is 2013. The Distinguished Editor Award (in both the literary and the scholarly division) is specifically exempted from this rotational requirement.
Journals that publish entirely in full-text print, entirely in electronic format, or in a combination of the two may compete. Trade/technical journals that work primarily in areas of discourse other than the scholarly or the belletristic are not eligible. It is unfortunately impossible at this time to ensure judges' proficiency in languages other than English.
Eligible issues are determined by the printed issue date and not by the stated date of publication; that is, issues publishing late may not qualify. Electronic journals must routinely and prominently display volume numbers and issue dates on both current and back issues, and the issues submitted to the contest must be easily accessible through directions provided to the website. If an electronic journal cannot be accessed on the World Wide Web without a subscription, access must be provided to the judges and CELJ Vice President for the duration of the contest and in such a way as not to compromise the judges' anonymity. Just as print journals must submit all materials by the deadline, so electronic journals must by that time provide directions to the website and arrange for subscription access, along with an explanation of how judges' anonymity will be preserved. The same guidelines apply to part-print, part-electronic journals.
Please note that all applicants should be prepared to send a representative of their journal (preferably the editor) to the MLA Convention should the journal be given an award. Winners will be notified several weeks in advance of the MLA convention. The list of awardees will be posted on the CELJ website within a few weeks after the convention.
For requirements specific to each category, see below.
I. The CELJ Awards for Literary Achievement
This recently developed awards division recognizes the special accomplishments of the belletristic journals among our company, complementing the long-established set of CELJ awards that honor member journals with a primarily critical or scholarly mission. The three individual categories comprising the "Literary Achievement" division rotate on a three-year cycle. Before you submit, determine which one of the three belletristic awards is available in the current competition. Furthermore, no journal can compete in more than one category annually.
The Distinguished Literary Editor Award
Eligibility: Any editor of a belletristic journal who has retired from an editorship within the previous 3 years is eligible. The editor must be nominated by the new editor or by a member of the current editorial board. Send 4 copies of the nomination with supporting documentation. Documentation may include any of the following: other letters of nomination by colleagues familiar with the editor's work; a brief C.V. in narrative format highlighting aspects of the editorship; selected sample issues of the journal illustrating key qualities of the editor's work; any other materials that can demonstrate the editor's influence on the field of literary publishing. Please provide circulation figures in the cover letter. (The subsequent round for the Distinguished Literary Editor Award is 2015.)
Parnassus Award for Significant Editorial Achievement
In 2004, we began with the Parnassus Award for Significant Editorial Achievement. This competition solicits a single issue, published within the previous 3 years, that constitutes an unusually high realization of the belletristic journal's mission in combination with application of the highest standards of "learned" editorial practice--understood to encompass editing for selection of high-quality content, compelling arrangement of contents, style, visual appeal and readability, etc. Submissions should include 4 copies of the following: 1) the issue to be considered; 2) the journal's statement of mission or purpose; and 3) a statement of not more than one page that describes the ways in which this submission marks a "peak" or "exceptional" achievement for the journal submitting, and that also provides circulation figures. Entries may be special issues but need not be. The award recognizes significant realization of editorial mission. (Now soliciting nominations for the Parnassus Award for Significant Editorial Achievement.)
Best New Literary Journal
New journals with 3 years or less of publication history are eligible. Print applicants must supply 4 copies of 2 different issues, one of which must be the most current issue. Electronic journals must specify which issue, along with the most current one, is to be judged. Submissions may include 4 copies of a letter from the editor, no longer than one page, introducing the new journal.
II. The CELJ Awards for Scholarly Achievement
Scholarly journals in the humanities may compete in eight different categories, all offered annually: Best New Journal, Best Special Issue, Best Public Intellectual Special Issue, Best Journal Design, the Phoenix Award for Significant Editorial Achievement, Distinguished Editor, Codex for any journal in any discipline covering up to 1500, and Voyager for any journal in any discipline covering 1500-1800.
Member journals with a primarily scholarly or critical focus qualify for these seven award contests.
Submission guidelines for scholarly categories
Best New Journal
New journals with 3 years or fewer of publication history (2012–2014) are eligible. Print applicants must supply 4 copies of 2 different issues, 1 of which must be the most current issue. Electronic journals must specify which issue, along with the most current one, is to be judged. Submissions may include 4 copies of a letter from the editor, no longer than one page, introducing the new journal.
Best Special Issue
A fall/winter 2013 or a 2014 special issue may be submitted. Send 4 copies of the special issue or specify an electronic issue. No additional supporting documentation may be included.
Best Public Intellectual Special Issue
Contestants must reach out beyond academe and connect with a popular audience in terms of accessible language and attractive presentation. Send 4 copies of the special issue, or specify an electronic issue, that seeks to achieve the democratic mission of higher education. A fall/winter 2013 or a 2014 issue may be submitted. No additional supporting documentation may be included.
Best Journal Design
Journals that have launched a new journal design within the previous 3 years (2012–2014) may submit. Print journals, send 4 copies each of the following: the last issue before the new design was launched, and 2 different sample issues of the new design. Electronic journals must provide access to the current website as described in "Rules of Eligibility for All Categories" above, and also make available the last website prior to present design--either by sending 4 copies on CDs or by providing a URL where the older site may be examined. Electronic journals must ensure that the submitted links work; non-working URLs will result in immediate disqualification. Part-print, part-electronic journals must advise and substantiate what components belong to which stage of the journal's development. Submissions may include 4 copies of a letter from the editor, no longer than one page, introducing the new design.
The Phoenix Award for Significant Editorial Achievement
Journals that have launched an overall effort of revitalization or transformation within the previous 3 years (2012–2014) may submit. This award goes to the most improved journal, regardless of its state at the time the renovations began. A weak journal that has become excellent is eligible, but so too is an admired journal that manages to become dramatically better. Submissions must feature significant editorial change and may also feature change in design and other aspects of the journal's publication. Print journals, send 4 copies of each of the following: the last issue before the launch of the revitalization or transformation, and 2 different sample issues of the revitalized or transformed journal. Electronic journals, please provide access to the current, revitalized website as described in "Rules of Eligibility for All Categories" above, and also make available the last website prior to present state, either by sending 4 copies on CDs or by providing a URL where the older site may be examined. Part-print, part-electronic journals must advise and substantiate what components belong to which stage of the journal's development. Submissions may include 4 copies of a letter from the editor, no more than one page, introducing the journal's changes.
Any editor who has retired from an editorship within the previous 3 years (2012–2014) is eligible. The editor must be nominated by the new editor or by a member of the current editorial board. Send 4 copies of the nomination with supporting documentation. Supporting documentation may include any of the following: other letters of nomination by colleagues familiar with the editor's work; a brief C.V. in narrative format highlighting aspects of the editorship; selected sample issues of the journal illustrating key qualities of the editor's work; any other materials that can demonstrate the editor's influence on the journal's field of scholarship.
The recipient of the Codex Award will be selected from journals covering the period before 1500. The journal can be in any discipline—history, literature, the arts, music, or any other field—or be interdisciplinary, and it can cover any area of that world as long as the majority of that coverage is in the 'ancient' or 'medieval' periods. Specialized and general journals may apply; the award is for distinction within this historical field, not necessarily for comprehensive coverage of it.
The Voyager Award will recognize excellence in any journal covering the period between 1500 and 1800. The journal can be in any discipline—history, literature, philosophy, music, or any other field—or be interdisciplinary, and it can cover any area of that world as long as the majority of that coverage is in the early modern period. Specialized and general journals may apply; the award is for distinction within this historical period, not necessarily for comprehensive coverage of it. Journals covering, say, both the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—or any version of 'the long eighteenth century' are eligible for this award.
What sort of journal wins?
The journals receiving awards in past years attest to the range and diversity of our membership. There is no typical winner, as is clear from our list of past winners.
A winner and a runner-up will be selected for each category. Eighteen judges—a panel of three for each category—independently evaluate the submissions, consulting with the Vice President, who makes final decisions.
When are the winners announced?
Awards to winners and runners-up will be presented publicly at the annual CELJ meeting during each year's Modern Language Association Convention—during the CELJ cash bar (please check the convention's schedule). We will notify winners and runners-up in advance of MLA so they can make plans to attend the ceremony. If you enter the competition, you are expected to be present or to appoint someone to be present to receive the award should you be selected. Results will be posted on the CELJ website; we regret that the volume of submissions and cost of postage makes it impossible for us to send individual notifications to non-winners.
How to enter
Only current members may enter the competitions. If your membership is not current, please join or renew by contacting Thomas Long, Secretary-Treasurer, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contest materials and a cover letter must be submitted only to Susan M. Griffin (email@example.com), address below.
All contest materials must be received in one clearly marked package (indicating "2014 CELJ Awards Competition") by September 6.
No submission materials will be returned. E-submissions are not allowed except to offer an addendum; for example, an electronic journal might reasonably wish to email a link permitting access to its website, but it must supply as its main entry a hard-copy document containing all necessary particulars, and informing us that electronic sources are also being submitted by e-mail, in time for the deadline. In your cover letter, indicate the award category you wish to enter–belletristic journals will need to check their submission category carefully–and provide contact information, including e-mail address; electronic journals must provide access information as described above. Journals may compete in only one category. Please send an e-mail or fax indicating that your package is on its way; confirmation of receipt will be sent only by e-mail. To ensure prompt delivery, send submissions by courier or first-class mail–but not by fourth-class surface mail–to the address below.
PLEASE NOTE: The address must conspicuously indicate "2014 CELJ Awards Competition."
Susan M. Griffin
Department of English
Bingham Humanities Bldg
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292