Frequently asked questions

What is the Association of Food Journalists Awards Competition?

Started in 1986, AFJ’s awards competition is the oldest still-functioning contest for food journalism. It’s one of only a few contests honoring the work of food journalism.

Who is eligible to enter?

Anyone who produced a piece of journalistic work centered on food—a story, column, review, section, special project, video, etc.—in the previous calendar year at a qualifying publication can enter their work in one of the contest’s categories. The work has to have been published in English, whether in the United States or another country. Membership in AFJ is not a requirement.

Publications DO NOT qualify for this competition if they are hosted or sponsored by

  • a food or food-related company;

  • a chef, restaurateur, or restaurant group;

  • a public relations firm representing a food company or a food-related organization or movement;

  • a trade association, advocacy group or government agency

Can AFJ officers enter the contest?

Neither the executive committee, the executive director or the AFJ Awards Competition Manager may enter the contest. AFJ board members can enter, but the AFJ officers cannot.

What are the qualifications for online-only publications?

Online-only publications must be posted on independent Web publications, blogs or affiliated with a media company. Paid advertising is permitted on qualifying websites.

Can students enter?

Yes. Students enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree-granting program or culinary school at the time the work was published can enter the contest. There is no fee for entry in the student writing category.

When are categories and rules announced?

The competition’s Call for Entries typically is released in January.

When are entries due?

Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on March 4. This is a firm deadline that will not be extended.

What does it cost to enter?

The fee is $45 (USD) per entry for AFJ members who have paid their 2019 dues prior to entering.

Non-AFJ members pay $60 (USD) per entry.

Entry fees are calculated per submission, not per person. When more than one entry is submitted under one entry fee, that entry will be disqualified.

There is no entry fee for students entering Best Writing on Food—Student Division.

Note: Students also can enter their work in other categories; however, they will have to pay the entry fee, and those entries must be different from those entered in the student category.

How can I join AFJ?
Just fill out the membership application form found here and submit payment. Memberships run from January 1 to December 31. If you have not renewed for the current calendar year, 2019, your membership is not current.

Who judges the entries?

Editors, writing coaches and other journalists from newspapers, magazines or online publications, as well as faculty from colleges and universities, judge the entries. Each category is assigned a minimum of two judges. 

Who oversees the contest?

All hands-on contest duties—collecting and processing entries, securing judges, communicating with judges, tallying results, paying judges, etc.—are carried out exclusively and confidentially by AFJ’s executive director and the AFJ awards competition manager with financial transactions executed by AFJ’s treasurer.

When are winners announced?

Finalists are announced in May. The places earned by each finalist—first, second or third—are announced later by AFJ. 

Are there prizes?

First-place winners earn $300. All winners receive a certificate.

Whom do I contact with questions?

CiCi Williamson, AFJ Awards Competition Manager: 2019AFJawards@gmail.com or 703-533-0066