Biographers International Organization bestows five major awards, honoring the world’s finest biographers, biographies, editors, and research librarians and archivists. BIO also awards four fellowships designed to help biographers do their work.
Each year, Biographers International Organization presents its highest honor to an individual for contributions to advancing the art and craft of biography. Each honoree is presented with a bronze plaque and a cash prize.
Named after the famous ancient Greek biographer, the Plutarch is awarded to the best biography of the year by a committee of five distinguished biographers from nominations received by BIO members and publishers. The award comes with a $1,000 honorarium.
First presented in 2014, the Rowley Prize honors the best book proposal by a first-time biographer. Winners receive a cash prize and a critique from a well-established literary agent.
The Frances “Frank” Rollin Fellowship awards $2,000 to an author working on a biographical work about an African American figure or figures whose story provides a significant contribution to our understanding of the Black experience.
In honor of the work of Robert and Ina Caro, Biographers International Organization has set up an annual research and travel fellowship. BIO members with a work in progress can apply to receive funding for research trips to archives or to important settings in their subject’s lives.
To honor former BIO member Chip Bishop and to help biographers in financial need, BIO co-founder James McGrath Morris has established the Chip Bishop Fellowship. The winner of the fellowship will have the fee waived for the annual BIO Conference and receive $500 to help defray travel and lodging expenses. The fellowship is open to both members and non-members.
First presented in 2014, the BIO Award for Editorial Excellence is presented to an outstanding editor, from nominations submitted by BIO members.
Created in 2012, the Biblio Award is presented to an outstanding librarian or archivist. Awardees are selected by the BIO Board of Directors, from nominations submitted by BIO members.
The Ray A. Shepard Award was created to honor Ray A. Shepard for organizing the first BIO conference almost single-handedly. Not necessarily awarded annually, the Shepard Award honors volunteers whose work goes above and beyond the call of duty.