Evans Biography Awards

Evans Biography Award logo Handcart Prize logo

The Evans Biography and Handcart Awards encourage the best in research and writing about the Interior West through the giving of two annual prizes for excellence in biography.

The Evans Biography Award is a $10,000 prize given to the best biography of a person who lived a significant portion of his or her life in the Interior West, or, in the words of the awards' founders, "Mormon Country" - that region historically influenced by Mormon institutions and social practices. The region is roughly an expanded Great Basin and Rocky Mountain region, extending south into Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexico, and north into southern Alberta, Canada.

The $2,500 Evans Handcart Award is given to a biography addressing similar subjects as the Evans Biography Award, but broadens the criteria to include family histories, and focuses on first-time and emerging authors.

All submitted books are read by a local jury of five scholars and book experts. This group selects three finalists that are then sent on to a national jury of three scholars, who choose the Evans Biography Award winner. The local jury selects the winner of the Handcart Award.

The awards are announced in the spring, and the awards ceremony is held in the fall at Utah State University. The time between the announcement and the ceremony allows us to arrange to bring the winners into USU classrooms for presentations.

Questions about the Evans Awards may be sent to mwc@usu.edu.

The Evans Biography Awards were endowed by the family of David Woolley Evans and Beatrice Cannon Evans. Both were born in 1894. Mr. Evans spent his adult life as a writer and editor. In 1943, he founded David W. Evans and Associates, which became one of the largest advertising and public relations firms in the western United States . The company was later purchased by Publicis, a large international communications agency headquartered in Paris, France.

Beatrice Cannon Evans was an historian and family genealogist who edited the Cannon Family Historical Treasury, a six-generation history of her father's family. She was also the genealogist and historian for the Bennions, her mother's family. It is fitting that these awards, established in honor of David and Beatrice Evans, celebrate and reward the writing of biography.