2021 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
Deadline extended to Monday, February 8
About the 2021 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award

The Robert F. Kennedy Book Award was founded in 1980 with the proceeds from Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.’s bestselling biography, Robert Kennedy and His Times. Each year, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights presents an award to the book that, as Schlesinger said, “most faithfully and forcefully reflects Robert Kennedy’s purposes—his concern for the poor and the powerless, his struggle for honest and even-handed justice, his conviction that a decent society must assure all young people a fair chance, and his faith that a free democracy can act to remedy disparities of power and opportunity.”

Ceremony & Prizes

The Robert F. Kennedy Book Award winner will receive a cash prize in the amount of $2,500 and a bust of Robert F. Kennedy.

The RFK Book Award winner will be announced at the Book and Journalism Awards Ceremony, a virtual celebration taking place in June 2021. The winner's friends, family, or any other guests are also welcome to attend the ceremony. 

Rules for Entry

Deadline extended to Monday, February 8

  • All books must have been first published in the United States between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.
  • There is no limit to the number of entries.
  • Both fiction and nonfiction works are eligible.
  • Paperback books can be submitted only if they are the first publication. 
  • Entries may be submitted by the author or the publisher. 
  • Book submissions must be completed in two parts:
    • Please submit the following online via the award portal:
      • A press release, review, or descriptive cover letter.
      • A high-resolution image of the book cover.
      • A completed official entry form.
      • A nonrefundable entry fee of $75.
    • Entrants are also required to mail two copies of the book to:

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Attn: Marianne Johnson
9007 Oak Place 
Bethesda, MD 20817

Judging Criteria

Entries will be judged on a variety of criteria, including appropriateness of subject matter; quality of sources; depth of research; presentation; impact of the entry on the problem it highlights; and courage in reporting. Entrants must be able to authenticate their work. In particular, judges will be looking for entries that reflect Robert Kennedy’s concerns, including human rights, social justice, and the power of individual action, and provide critical analysis of relevant public policies, programs, and private endeavors.

FAQ & Contact Information

Are there any limits to how many entries I can submit? 

No. You may submit as many entries as you'd like. 

What does it cost to enter? 

There is a $75 fee per entry.

Is there a prize? 

The Robert F. Kennedy Book Award winner will receive a cash prize in the amount of $2,500 and a bust of Robert F. Kennedy.

Are fiction and nonfiction works eligible?

Yes, both fiction and nonfiction works are eligible.

For more information about the submission process, please contact Marianne Johnson at 719-322-6896 or tme@rfkhumanrights.org.

Submit Your Entry

Submit your entry