Submissions- Evans Biography Awards

The Mountain West Center for Regional Studies at Utah State University is seeking submissions for well-researched & well-written biographies, autobiographies, or edited memoirs with a significant connection to the interior west.

Evans Biography Award - $10,000

Evans biography award token

Evans Handcart Award - $2,500

Evans handcart award token

Award Criteria

To be considered for the Evans Biography Award and the Evans Handcart Award, books need to be well-researched and well-written and fit at least one of the following criteria:

  • A biography, autobiography, or edited memoir of someone who lived a significant portion of his or her life in “Mormon Country”—that region historically influenced by Mormon institutions and social practices. The region is roughly an expanded Great Basin and Rocky Mountain region, extending south into Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexico, and north into southern Alberta, Canada (neither the biography’s subject nor author need be affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church).
  • A well-researched history or family history in which the biographical material concerning the principal(s) is/are extensive and significant. The Interior West must be a significant setting.
  • A collection of biographical portraits in which the individuals fit a unifying theme and understanding. The Interior West must be a significant setting.
  • A biography or family history with significant biographical content dealing with nineteenth-century Mormon history, including the Palmyra, Kirtland, Nauvoo, and exodus periods.


Award Classification

Authors or nominating publishers may self-identify the category under which they wish to be considered; however, the regional jury will screen all submissions and make the final determination about whether books best fit the criteria of the Evans Biography Award or the Evans Handcart Award.

Guidelines for best fit are as follows:

Evans Biography Award

  • Preference given to strong, scholarly work
  • Potential use as academic text or cited in other research
  • Use of solid research methods & primary research
  • Offers new insight, fresh approach, or innovative look at subject person or culture
  • Typically expansive in time span
  • Maintains readability; is engaging

Evans Handcart Award

  • Preference given to work with a personal perspective (i.e., family story)
  • Should have a strong narrative & good storytelling
  • Can be a memoir (i.e., narrowly focused by a theme or span of time)
  • Not required to be an exhaustive analysis of an entire life
  • Preference given to a new author or an author new to the genre 

Award Selection

The regional jury will choose up to four finalists for the Evans Biography Award and choose the winner of the Evans Handcart Award. The winner of the Evans Biography Award will be chosen from the finalists by a national jury. Past judges on the regional and national juries have included award-winning historians, biographers, and memoirists as well as western studies scholars and representatives from independent booksellers. The winning authors and publishers will be notified in Summer 2024, and the presentation of the awards will take place at a ceremony at Utah State University in Fall 2024. (No award will be given if jurors determine that no submission merits an award in any given award cycle.)



Award Submission

Send a submission cover sheet with six copies of the book and one copy of the author’s resume to the address below. Books published in 2022 & 2023 may be sent at any time but no later than February 15, 2024.

Submission Deadline

Deadline for submission of books published in 2022 and 2023:
February 15, 2024.


Contact the Mountain West Center for Regional Studies for additional questions:

Phone: 435-797-0299

Submission Address
Mailing Address (US Postal Service):
Mountain West Center for Regional Studies
Utah State University
0735 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT  84322-0735

Parcel Address (Fed Ex / UPS):
Mountain West Center for Regional Studies
Utah State University
Old Main Building - Room 338
Utah State University
Logan, UT  84322


Established by the Evans family in 1983 to honor David Woolley Evans and Beatrice Cannon Evans, and administered by the Mountain West Center since 1987, these awards recognize outstanding writing in the genres of biography and autobiography. David Evans (1894-1982) was a writer, editor, and founder of a large advertising and public relations firm that bore his name. Beatrice Evans (1894-1985) was an historian and family genealogist who edited the Cannon Family Historical Treasury, a six-generation history of her father’s family. She was also the genealogist and historian for her mother’s large Bennion family. Both David and Beatrice recognized the importance of publishing the stories of the people and families who shaped and were shaped by their sense of place in the Interior West.