William E. Colby Military Writers' Award
The William E. Colby Military Writers' Award is named for William E. Colby, a notable American intelligence officer and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Colby Award recognizes a first book-length work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations, or international affairs.
Carlo D’Este ’58 Military Writers’ Endowment
The Carlo D’Este ’58 Military Writers’ Endowment provides funding in perpetuity to support the operating costs of the Norwich University Military Writers' Symposium, the William E. Colby Award, and year-round student enrichment opportunities on military history and current affairs. It also honors the legacy of Carlo D’Este, a 1958 Norwich graduate, beloved co-founder of the Military Writers’ Symposium, decorated U.S. Army colonel and renowned military historian. Carlo passed away on November 21, 2020 at the age of 84.
Highlighted Award Winners
For a full list of winners, see FAQ below.
2023 Colby Award Winner
Lost Airmen: The Epic Rescue of WWII U.S. Bomber Crews Stranded Behind Enemy Lines (Regnery History)Learn More
2019 Colby Award Winner
Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War (W. W. Norton & Company)Learn more
2011 Colby Award Winner
Matterhorn (Atlantic Monthly Press)Learn more
Frequently Asked Questions
To qualify for consideration for the Colby Award:
1. The book must be a FIRST WORK by the author.
2. Submissions must be received by the stated deadline.
3. Self-nominations are not accepted.
4. The Colby Award recipient must be present at the symposium at Norwich University and participate in an appearance at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library in Chicago based upon the author’s schedule.
2023, Charles E. Stanley Jr., Lost Airmen: The Epic Rescue of WWII U.S. Bomber Crews Stranded Behind Enemy Lines (Regnery History)
2022, Wesley Morgan, The Hardest Place: The American Military Adrift in Afghanistan’s Pech Valley (Random House)
2021, Mark Treanor, A Quiet Cadence (Naval Institute Press)
2020, Adam Higginbotham, Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster (Simon & Schuster)
2019, Paul Scharre, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War (W. W. Norton & Company)
2018, Steven E. Sodergren, The Army of the Potomac in the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns: Union Soldiers and Trench Warfare, 1864-1865 (LSU Press)
2017, David Barron, Waging War: The Clash Between Presidents and Congress, 1776 to ISIS (Simon and Schuster)
2016, Nisid Hajari, Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
2015, COL Douglas Mastriano, Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne (The University Press of Kentucky)
2014, Logan Beirne, Blood of Tyrants: George Washington and the Forging of the Presidency (Encounter Books)
2013, Thomas P. McKenna, Kontum: The Battle to Save South Vietnam (The University Press of Kentucky)
2012, Michael Franzak, A Nightmare’s Prayer (Threshold Editions)
2011, Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn (Atlantic Monthly Press)
2010, Colonel Jack Jacobs (Ret.) and Douglas Century, If Not Now, When? (Berkley Caliber 2008)
2009, Dexter Filkins, The Forever War (Knopf 2008)
2009, Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor (Little, Brown and Company, 2007)
2008, R. Alan King, Twice Armed: An American Soldier’s Battle for Hearts and Minds in Iraq (Zenith Press 2006)
2007, Ian W. Toll, Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy (W.W. Norton & Company 2006)
2007, John A Glusman, Conduct Under Fire: Four American Doctors and Their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese 1941-1945 (Viking 2005)
2006, Kevin J. Weddle, Lincoln’s Tragic Admiral: The Life of Samuel Francis Du Pont (University of Virginia Press 2005);
2006, Nathaniel Fick, One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer (Houghton-Mifflin 2005)
2005, Jon Meacham, Franklin and Winston: An Epic Story of an Intimate Friendship (Random House)
2005, MG Sid Shachnow, USA (Ret.) and Jann Robbins, Hope and Honor (Forge Books)
2004, Bing West and Major General Ray L. Smith, USMC (Ret.), The March Up (Bantam)
2004, Robert L. Bateman, No Gun Ri (Stackpole)
2003, Bryan Mark Rigg, Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers (University Press of Kansas)
2002, Patrick K. O’Donnell, Beyond Valor (The Free Press)
2002, Ralph Wetterhahn, The Last Battle (Avalon Publishing)
2001, James Bradley with Ron Powers, Flags of Our Fathers (Bantam)
2000, B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley, Stolen Valor (Verity Press)
1999, Fred Chiaventone, A Road We Do Not Know (Simon & Schuster)
1999, Bill Harlow, Circle William (Scribner)
Yes. However, per our guidelines, we do not accept self-nominations. To be eligible, a self-published book must be nominated by someone other than the author. For example, an editor, another author, or subject-matter expert who finds the work worthy may nominate a self-published book.
It would be appreciated but is not required.
Yes, as long as the original publication is the author’s first book-length work.
Yes. A book-length work of poetry, whether a single, long poem or a collection of poems, qualifies for the award.
Norwich University will contact the top finalists around late spring. Unfortunately, we are not able to individually contact nominees who have not advanced to the later rounds of review.
The Colby Award includes a two-step review process. In the first round, a team of volunteer reviewers reads all eligible submissions. In the second round, the top five finalists move on to our selection committee, made up of six former Colby Award winners and chaired by noted historian and New York Times–best-selling author, Alex Kershaw. The selection committee chooses the winning title.
Yes. The Colby Award recipient must be present at the Military Writers’ Symposium at Norwich University and participate in an appearance at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library in Chicago based upon the author’s schedule.