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Submit nominations now for the 2021 Humanities Awards

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is now accepting public nominations for the 2021 Humanities Awards, an annual program honoring Louisianans who have made outstanding contributions to the understanding of the state’s culture and history.

Since 1985, LEH has recognized hundreds of individuals and organizations for their work in the realms of literature, art history, philosophy, photography and more. Public nominations are sought for six categories:

  • Lifetime Contributions: Honors citizens who have supported public appreciation of issues central to the humanities.
  • Documentary Photographer of the Year: Honors documentary photographers whose work captures Louisiana’s history, culture, and/or peoples. Nominations may be for a complete body of work or a single project.
  • Humanities Documentary Film of the Year: Awarded to the documentary film released in the previous calendar year (2020) that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana documentary filmmakers.
  • Humanities Book of the Year: Awarded to the book published between October 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020, that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana writers.
  • Light Up for Literacy: Honors individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to literacy efforts in the state. The award is presented in partnership with the State Library of Louisiana’s Center for the Book and the Library of Congress.
  • Best in Digital Humanities—NEW: Recognizes publicly accessible digital humanities projects produced in the previous two calendar years (2019 and 2020) including websites, virtual exhibitions, podcasts, and other born-digital initiatives that bring new insights to and/or significantly improve the public’s understanding of the state, its history, and/or its culture. Awarded biannually in odd-numbered years.

Note: The Museum Exhibition of the Year Award will now be awarded biannually in even-numbered years. The next award in this category will be made in 2022.

How to submit nominations

Individuals, institutions, or organizations may submit nominations. Individuals, however, may not nominate themselves. Letters of nomination should not exceed two pages and should detail specific accomplishments that qualify the nominee for the award; in particular, their contributions to our understanding of the state and the humanities. Whenever possible, a curriculum vitae for the nominee and other letters of support should accompany the letter of nomination. Supporting documentation, including hard copies of or links to press coverage and/or reviews, are also welcome.

Additional Requirements

Humanities Book of the Year
  • Include four copies of the book in the nomination packet.
  • Books must be single- or co-authored. Anthologies and multi-authored edited volumes are not eligible.
Humanities Documentary Film of the Year
  • Include a screening link.
Documentary Photographer of the Year
  • Include a digital or print portfolio of the artist’s work as well as a list of exhibitions and/or publications in which the work has appeared.
Best in Digital Humanities
  • Include links to the Digital Humanities project.


  • Humanities Book of the Year: 5 p.m., October 2, 2020
  • Humanities Documentary Film of the Year: 5 p.m., October 23, 2020
  • All other categories: 5 p.m., October 16, 2020

Where to send nominations

All nominations should be addressed to: Humanities Awards Committee, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 938 Lafayette St, Suite 300, New Orleans, LA 70113. Nominations also may be emailed to [email protected].


The Humanities Awards Committee will select nominees who best exemplify one or more of the above categories. No single humanities area will receive primary consideration, but the nominees’ activities must reflect one or more disciplines in the humanities. For additional information about the annual humanities awards, contact LEH Vice President of Content Erin Greenwald at [email protected] or visit the LEH website.

View a list of awardees since 1985.


above: 2020 Humanist of the Year Terence Blanchard; photo by Henry Adebonojo