The Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature

The Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature celebrates the life of the publisher’s brother Nicholas Schaffner, poet, musician, biographer and esteemed music critic, author of several books, including THE BEATLES FOREVER, THE BRITISH INVASION, and SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS: The Pink Floyd Odyssey. Nicholas, who devoted his life to music and literature about music, died at the age of thirty-eight. We have created this award to celebrate his legacy in order to encourage emerging writers whose lives and writing have been profoundly influenced by music. The Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature will be given to the writer of an unpublished manuscript who submits a literary work in the English language, either fiction, poetry or non-fiction (ie. memoir, autobiography, or essay collection) that deals in some way with the subject of music (of any genre and period) and its influence. Apply now.

Qualifying work

Book-length complete manuscripts in the English language will be considered on a first-come first-served basis, and submissions are welcome anytime from June 1st, 2016 - January 31st, 2017. A winner will be selected on or around May 1st, 2017, and offered a contract and advance of $1,000 for the book’s publication in a format or formats to be determined by the publisher. Only works in English are accepted,(though a skilled translation in the English language is acceptable provided it has the original author's approval) and entrants must be 18 years or older to apply. Original, complete, book-length (60K-100,000K words) manuscripts may be submitted as electronic/digital files to the dedicated website below, or can be submitted as hard copies to Attention: Awards, Schaffner Press, Inc. POB 41567, Tucson, AZ 85717. Hard copy manuscripts must be accompanied by correct SASE, check, money order or equivalent amount in postage to insure that they be returned at the end of the submission period.

The 2014 NSA Winner

Alice Fogel of NH, Winner of the 2014 Nicholas Schaffner Award

The 2014 award winner is Alice B. Fogel Poet Laureate of New Hampshire for her poetry collection titled INTERVAL: Poems Based on Bach's "Goldberg Variations" (April, 2015). Ms. Fogel's collection fulfilled all the criteria of the award in that her poetry captured not only the spirit within Bach’s music, but transformed it into a celebration of life itself, much as the “Variations” do upon the listener’s ear. Our congratulations to her for this bold and beautiful intermarriage of music and verse! We greatly look forward to publishing her work next year!

The 2015 NSA Winner

Glenn Berger, Winner of the 2015 Nicholas Schaffner Award

The 2015 Nicholas Schaffner Award Winner is Glenn Berger of Ossining, NY for his colorful and lively memoir, NEVER SAY NO TO A ROCK STAR: In The Studio with Dylan, Sinatra, Jagger, and be released in July, 2016. Glenn, now a psychotherapist specializing in creativity coaching, was apprentice to and later engineer for Phil Ramone at A&R Studios where he took part in legendary recording sessions with Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, and Mick Jagger, to name a few. The judges for the award have selected "Never Say No" for its rich evocation of a time and zeitgeist in the 70s and 80s that was unique in the history of popular music. According to publisher Tim Schaffner, "This is the perfect continuation of the Nicholas Schaffner Award in capturing the essence of how music moves us, influences us, and changes our lives."


Glenn Berger, Winner of the 2015 Nicholas Schaffner Award

The 2016 Nicholas Schaffner Award Winner is Sylvia Torti of Salt Lake City, Utah for her novel, Cages. Set in and around a research laboratory in which two scientists are experimenting on birds to discover the origins of memory and birdsong, Cages is a complex interweaving of biological, philosophical and mystical themes. It is also a story of love, loss and memory as the two scientists vie for the heart of a young research assistant, yet like the birds whose songs they have muted, are unable to express their true feelings for her; and she in turn refuses to be "caged." The themes of music and birdsong resonate throughout this examination of human and animal relationships, and make Cages an ideal winner for this year's award.

Entry Fee

We require an entry fee of $25 payable by check or money order (Paid to Awards/Schaffner Press) or by Paypal via our dedicated website

Submission Style and Format

Novels: 75,000-100,000 words in length, double-spaced Short Fiction Collection: Only a collection of stories between 50,000-80,000 words will be considered. Do not send one or two individual stories as these will be disqualified.

Poetry: A Poetry manuscript of approximately 60 pp, one poem per page and double-spaced will be considered.

Non-fiction: An Essay collection or personal narrative/memoir may be considered between 75,000-100,000 words in similar format as novels.

Academic texts or theses are not acceptable for this award. Biographies and autobiographies may be accepted for consideration on a case by case basis.

Judging Criteria

All works will be judged* in terms of their originality, quality of language, level of engagement with the reader, and interpretation of the award’s theme: music and its influence on us, in us, and around us. This can be approached in a myriad of ways and the creative license as to how you as the writer perceive this is entirely up to you, in whatever voice, voices, time frame, location, genre you choose.

*Judges to be determined at Publisher's discretion.


The first place winner will receive a contract with Schaffner Press and a $1,000 advance for publication of his/her work as a print and digital release the following publishing year.* Conversely, Schaffner Press reserves the right to choose not to select a winner for the year’s award should none of the submissions meet the award critieria in the opinion of the judge or judges.

*within 18 months of date of contract

We offer two ways to apply - online or by mail. A fee of $25 is required for entry.

Your manuscript must have a title page that includes your name, address, email address and the full title of the work. Please do not include any personal or biographical information, and please no illustrations.

apply online

what you'll need:

1.  Your manuscript (with title page) in Word.doc or .pdf. T he file name should be the title of the work — not an acronym or abbreviation - ie. Gonewiththewind.doc.

2.  A PayPal account for entry fee payment.