Nominations are open for Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance’s Maine Literary Awards, a statewide competition organized to honor writers, publishers and students from across the state for exemplary literary accomplishment.

“Writing in Maine has never been better than it is right now,” said Wesley McNair as he accepted the position of Maine Poet Laureate in early March, and the MWPA could not agree more.

The Maine Literary Awards is the only statewide literary competition recognizing excellence in writing and publishing. It is an opportunity for any Maine resident, including seasonal residents, to nominate a writer or submit their writing regardless of publishing history or status. The annual awards also include opportunities for unpublished writers and middle school or high school students (and to home-schooled students at a comparable age and grade level) to earn recognition and publicity for their work, dedication and talent.

Book Awards will be given for books published during 2010. This year’s book categories include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, children’s, young adult and anthology.

New to the competition this year is the Excellence in Publishing Award, which honors Maine publishers for general excellence in content or design. Submissions to this category can include a wide range of literary production, from books written by out-of-state authors to Maine-themed photography books.

While the Books Awards and Short Works Competition carry modest entry fees, the youth competitions in fiction, poetry and nonfiction are completely free. Nominations are only open until May 2. The Maine Literary Awards will culminate in an awards ceremony on June 9.

Full guidelines and nomination forms can be downloaded on MWPA’s website, mainewriters.org. Entrants also may call 228-8263 and request a nomination form be mailed to them. For more information, call or contact the MWPA at info@mainewriters.org.