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The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, New York University’s Clive Davis Institute, and The Pop Conference Open Submissions for 2022 Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award

Prizes totaling $10,000 to be awarded to passionate, diverse, and culture-shaping literary voices from across the country that focus on popular music

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, New York University’s Clive Davis Institute, and the Pop Conference are reviving a celebrated award in popular music writing after a two-decade hiatus. The Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award returns and is now accepting submissions at rockhall.lnk.to/Gleason. The deadline to apply is January 19, 2022.

The prize honors books that primarily focus on popular music and showcase the combination of passionate writing and scholarship, across lines of criticism, journalism, and academia, which marked pioneer music critic Ralph Gleason’s work up until his death in 1975. The prize is being underwritten by Jann S. Wenner in honor of Rolling Stone cofounder Gleason.

“Reviving the award allows us to celebrate literary voices that reflect the diversity of rock & roll and popular music. This award honors new culture-shaping storytellers who share Gleason’s passion for music and its ability to build connections between people, bring important voices to the forefront, and make significant societal change,” said Jason Hanley, Vice President of Education and Fan Engagement, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Gleason was a highly perceptive critic of jazz, pop, and rock music whose words withstand the passage of time. Wanting to share his enjoyment with others, he was one of the first to perceive the importance of Bob Dylan and Miles Davis, among others. He stayed ahead of the curve as the cofounder of Rolling Stone magazine and, as one of the first mainstream writers to cover the mid-1960’s San Francisco music scene, he ushered the San Francisco Chronicle into the rock era, and cofounded the Monterey Jazz Festival.

A shortlist of the best music books of 2021 will be unveiled in April 2022 at the Pop Conference in New York City, with winners to be announced in the fall. A prize of $10,000 will be shared by the winners. The Rock Hall also plans to host a virtual Author Series event to celebrate the winners and to highlight the authors’ work in their education programs and free online learning platform, Rock Hall EDU, which has now reached more than one million students.

To apply and to read more about eligibility and rules, visit rockhall.lnk.to/Gleason. To learn more about Pop Con, the premier music-writing and popular music studies conference, visit https://popconference.org/.

The Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award advisory board is chaired by writer Holly George-Warren, and includes writers RJ Smith, Carl Wilson (Slate), Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music/NYU Chair Jason King, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame VP of Education Jason Hanley, and academics Kimberly Mack (University of Toledo) and Eric Weisbard (University of Alabama). Judges will rotate yearly. This year’s judges are Laina Dawes, Nelson George, Alisha Lola Jones, Greil Marcus, and Amanda Petrusich.

The advisory board would also like to acknowledge the passing of Greg Tate – writer, musician, and co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition – who was part of this project and had agreed to serve as one of the inaugural judges. His powerful writing reminds us that music matters and is always in dialogue with the world around us. 

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