Literary Awards

Literary Awards

The distinguished Joseph Henry Jackson and Mary Tanenbaum Literary Awards offer $2,000 to emerging literary artists in the Bay Area based on the submission of an unpublished manuscript in-progress. Submissions may be in any one of the following literary forms: fiction (novel or short stories), nonfictional prose, poetry, and spoken word.


Joseph Henry Jackson (1894-1955) moved to California after World War I and was editor of Sunset Magazine from 1926-28. From 1924-1943 he hosted the radio program “Bookman’s Guide,” and from 1930 through the remainder of his career, he served as the literary editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, where he gained national prominence. Jackson also wrote and edited over a dozen books, many concerning California history. He served on several literary boards, including the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Harper Prize Novel and the Pulitzer Prize. Jackson was always interested in discovering and encouraging new writers. In his honor, his friends established the Jackson Award for emerging writers. The San Francisco Foundation began administering the award in 1957.

Mary Tanenbaum (1914-1997) began her career as a journalist after graduating from Stanford in 1936. Her first job was reviewing books with Joseph Henry Jackson for the San Francisco Chronicle. Tanenbaum’s articles on literature, travel, fashion and personalities appeared in the Chronicle, the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor. The San Francisco Foundation began administering an award in Ms. Tanenbaum’s name in 1987. The award was made permanent in 2000, by her husband, Charles.


Applications to the literary awards are by invitation only.