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The Louisville Grawemeyer Award honors highly significant contributions to religious and spiritual understanding. By “religion” we mean, to paraphrase a classic definition by William James, the feelings, acts and experiences of humans insofar as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they consider the divine. The purpose of the Award is to honor and publicize annually creative and constructive insights into the relationship between human beings and the divine, and ways in which this relationship may inspire or empower human beings to attain wholeness, integrity or meaning, either individually or in community.

Prize Amount

$100,000 cash


Any work (book, address, essay, etc.) presented or published in 2010 or subsequently will be eligible for consideration for the 2017 Award. Nominations are invited from religious organizations, appropriate academic associations, religious leaders and scholars, presidents of universities or schools of religion, publishers and editors of scholarly journals. Self-nominations will not be accepted or considered. There will be no discrimination based on religious affiliation or belief or lack thereof. The Award Committee encourages submissions from a wide variety of intellectual and/or religious perspectives. Previous winners are not eligible for subsequent awards.

Criteria for Judging Nominations

The Award competition, which is open to persons of all religious traditions and world views, will consider a wide variety of concerns and issues. Such issues may include but are not limited to:

  • The experience of divine or ultimate reality,
  • Meaning and purpose of human existence,
  • Authority and freedom in religious understanding,
  • Pluralism and religious truth,
  • Evil, suffering, and death,
  • Compassion, joy and hope,
  • Religion and science,
  • Divine involvement in human history.
  • Practices of faith and spirituality.

Preference will be given to ideas:

  • which by their clarity and power assist people better to understand the relationship between divine reality and human spiritual striving;
  • which lead to a recognition and understanding of religious experience;
  • which foster greater understanding and cooperation among adherents of diverse religious traditions and views;
  • which stimulate new insights into the relationship between religious awareness and other forms of human knowledge;
  • which reflect significant breakthroughs in our understanding of divine-human relationships, particularly in the context of the postmodern world.

Nomination Process

Each person or group nominating an idea for consideration must submit one (1) copy of each of the following in typed or printed form:

  • A completed Nomination form.
  • The work as published or printed (in the case of a speech, the written text or transcript) including all standard bibliographic and copyright citations. Publishers submitting nominations are requested to supply the required total of six (6) copies of the work.
  • In the case of submissions in a language other than English, a substantial abstract in English should also be included.
  • A supporting statement of between 500-750 words in English setting out the central idea of the work and specifically relating the idea to the criteria for the Award.


Nominations must be received by December 1, 2015. All submissions become the property of the Louisville Grawemeyer Award Committee. In the event that no idea is considered adequately meritorious in a given year, no award will be made. Download a 2017 Grawemeyer award in religion nomination form.

The Review Process

A faculty review committee appointed by the Presidents of the University of Louisville and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will consider all nominations and advance a select number for further consideration. Three judges of international reputation chosen by the University and the Seminary will select three finalists. Recommendation of a winner from among the finalists will be made by the Louisville Grawemeyer Committee to the Boards of the Seminary and the University for final action.

For More Information

Nominations and requests for further information should be sent to:

Dr. Shannon Craigo-Snell
The Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
1044 Alta Vista Road
Louisville, Kentucky 40205-1798

Telephone: 800-264-1839
Fax: (502) 894-2286

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