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About Us

Better Books for a Better World

One of the goals of the Nautilus Book Awards is to energize the interconnections between books, authors, publishers, and readers and to be responsive to the world through words.

Build thee more stately mansions O my soul,
As the swit seasons roll!
Leave they low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Til thou at length are free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!

— Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Chambered' Nautilus

The Nautilus Book Awards are named for the mollusk, whose beautiful, pearl-lined shell contains chambers of increasing size, which the sea creature constructs for itself as it grows. The nautilus symbolizes both ancient wisdom and expanding horizons, the elegance of nature, and a continual growth of understanding and awareness.

Image by Content Pixie

Our Mission

Our core mission is to celebrate and honor books that support conscious living and green values, wellness, social change, social justice, and spiritual growth.


The Nautilus Awards represent Better Books for a Better World.

During the past 24 years, our book awards program has continued to grow within the author and publishing community around the world as it recognizes, honors, celebrates and promotes books that inspire and connect our lives as individuals, families, communities, and global citizens.

Nautilus Book Awards is dedicated to its winners obtaining wider recognition, exhibiting opportunities, industry exposure, and enhanced prospects for sales.

We look for literary contributions to spiritual growth, green values and sustainability, wellness, social change, and social justice. We welcome your endeavors in the worlds of art, creativity, and inspirational reading for children, teens, and young adults.

Our Story.png

Three decades ago, several professionals in the U.S. publishing industry recognized that significant new cultural movements were emerging but were barely visible within the industry.​

Marilyn McGuire saw the vital need in the early 1990’s for greater support for these new fields. She and several other colleagues decided to create an opening for articles that would publicize ideas such as the emerging environmental and sustainability movement, the next wave of feminism and healing between genders, and diverse approaches to spirituality (both new and ancient), and reports of practical efforts in social justice with a focus on multiculturalism and inclusion.


With the assistance of two colleagues, Carol Wright and Carol Scarfuto, Marilyn launched the magazine NAPRA (New Alternatives in Publishing and Retailing) to support efforts by authors, publishers, and bookstores. They published the magazine with the intention to highlight the new “shift” that was beginning to emerge in our culture.

By 1997, these individuals, plus Patty Monaco as a fourth, decided to branch out and provide additional impact for these emerging fields. They created a book awards program with the purpose of celebrating excellent Books on the growing edge of culture —including an expanding range of book-publication types.  In the autumn of 1999, the idea for the Nautilus Book Awards was born and launched in 2000.  During the next several years, Nautilus grew steadily as a platform for first-time and experienced authors and publishers to have their books recognized as seeds for the world shifts that were becoming necessary and crucial to bring forth healing for life on Earth.

In the first season, Nautilus increased the recruitment and training of other professionals as volunteer Reviewers to serve with the book awards program. Nautilus initiated a tradition of encouraging teachers, wisdom-keepers, professors, engaged parents and librarians, and leaders in their fields to serve as Reviewers. During this period of growth, the intention of the program's staff was focused on keeping a heartful and welcoming tone while being mindful of the comprehensive assessment of each Book Entry.​​

In the decade 2004- 2014, the leaders of Nautilus kept their commitment to growing and expanding the vision - to recognize and celebrate Better Books for a Better World.  During this decade, many Authors and Publishers began taking more responsibility for their books as tangible and potent seeds of a potential world. One that values sustainable earth practices and the integration of wholeness of body, mind, and spirit. A world that celebrates streams of spiritual awakening from Eastern traditions, from Western traditions, and from Indigenous & other traditions. A people that encourages social action for greater healing and justice in many aspects of our culture and planet.

In 2015, Marilyn decided to retire, and she passed the torch to the new Director, Mary Belknap — Educational Psychologist, author, and lifelong lover of books.  Marilyn and Mary salute our colleague and friend of Nautilus Book Awards, Cynthia Frank, principal of Cypress House in California, who introduced them professionally - which helped co-create this next evolutionary step for Nautilus!

Under Mary's leadership (2015 - 2022), we deepened the following aspects of the Nautilus Book Awards program:

  • Identified additional categories to reflect conversations in the larger culture and in our communities, e.g., Social Sciences & Education and USA and Global Cultures Spiritual Growth & Development, Lyric Prose, and Rising to the Moment. 

  • Several of the larger categories - Fiction and Memoir and Personal Growth - have been divided into two segments by publisher type: Self-Published and Small Press books, and the other is books by Large Publishers. This step has been welcomed by authors and publishers alike because it reflects Nautilus’s support of authors in their diverse relationships with publishers. In addition, Nautilus now recognizes the newer publishing forms, small press hybrid, and large publisher hybrid (according to components defined by IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association).

  • Each summer, the Advisory Group and Director review the Nautilus Category Descriptions as the Nautilus season begins. These descriptions evolve as the greater cultural conversation grows, and the aliveness of the categories assists authors and publishers in identifying where their book(s) fit into the larger growing patterns and relationships of Better Books for a Better World. 

  • During the past five years, Nautilus has truly become an international Book Awards program. We welcome and encourage entries from other nations (for print books in English), and in fact, during the past two years, we received entries from twelve other nations as well as the USA.

  • When we offer Training workshops for new Nautilus Reviewers, we emphasize the Vision with which the program began 20 years ago: Reviewers are asked to consider how each book's message expresses one or more of the Nautilus Core Values. These core values are Health/Wellness, Green Living and Earth sustainability, Spiritual Growth, and Social Change/Social Justice.

The Nautilus Story continuesIn 2022, Mary Belknap decided to retire and turned the torch to the new Director - Melissa Granchi- Nautilus volunteer (2015), Psychotherapist, writer, and lifelong lover of books. Our goal is to continue to energize the interconnections between books, authors, publishers, readers, bookstores, and communities -- and to be responsive to the world through the creative power of words.  We wish to contribute to the greater platform where new alternatives are not only possible but inevitable as the unity of humanity emerges in greater creativity, coherence, imagination, integrity, interconnections, and peace-making for the good of all.

Blessings to you, dear readers, for your creative journey in books, reading, and beyond.

Thank you to each and every author or publisher who chose to send an entry for our program.  Most of all, thank you for bringing your attention to books that help us co-create our future with our planet, one another, and ourselves.


***Marilyn McGuire died on October 9, 2022,  in the presence of her loved ones. Please click here for her obituary.

Praises for Nautilus Book Awards

These books are creating a curriculum for the folks out there who are longing for a new story.

Jean Houston, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Grand Dame, and Co-Founder of the Body/Mind/Spirit movement

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