The John D. Voelker Foundation and the American Museum of Fly Fishing (AMFF) are pleased
to announce that submissions are now being accepted for the 2024 Robert Traver Fly-Fishing
Writing Award (the Traver Award). The award is named after Robert Traver, pen name for the
late John Voelker, author of Trout Madness, Trout Magic, Anatomy of a Fisherman, the 1958 best
seller Anatomy of a Murder, and the historical novel Laughing Whitefish.
The Traver Award, which includes a $2,500 prize, was created in 1994 to encourage and recognize
“distinguished original stories or essays that embody the implicit love of fly fishing, respect for
the sport, and the natural world in which it takes place.” The Traver stories and essays must
demonstrate high literary values in one or more of these three categories:
- The joy of fly fishing: personal and philosophic experience
- Ecology: knowledge and protection of the natural world
- Humor: piscatorial friendships and fun on the water
The 2024 Traver Award will be granted for the winning short work of fiction or nonfiction essay
in the English language not previously published commercially in print or digital media. “Short
work” means 3,000 words or less. An entry fee of $25 will offset the administrative costs of the
award program. Previous Traver Award winners are not eligible.
The deadline for submissions is midnight on May 31, 2024. The submission form and additional
instructions can be found on the Voelker Foundation website: www.voelkerfoundation.com.
The Traver Award winner will be notified in the fall of 2024. The winning entry will be
published in the Winter or Spring 2025 edition of the American Fly Fisher, the journal of the
American Museum of Fly Fishing.
The winner of the 2023 Robert Traver Fly-fishing Writing Award was “Middle-Seat
Meditations” by Matt Powell of Twin Falls, Idaho. Mr. Powell’s story is a fly-fishing guide’s
reflection on karma, enlightenment, and suffering on the Henry’s Fork.
The Traver Award judges also bestowed Honorable Mention recognition on two other entries:
- “Fixer-Upper” by Thomas Walters of Banner Elk, North Carolina
- “The Cerulean Trout” by Jacob Sotak of Montpelier, Vermont
The 2023 competition drew a field of 65 stories and essays. Entries were judged anonymously
resulting in six finalists. The other three finalists were:
- “Crossing the Blue Ceiling” by Jon Tobey of Duvall, Washington
- “Fish on the Wall” by John Humphrey of Mystic, Connecticut
- “Hope Truly Is the Thing with Feathers” by Mike Toth of Pennington, New Jersey
Since 1994, twenty-four awards have been given. Two anthologies of the Traver Award winners
and finalists have been published: In Hemingway’s Meadow (2009) and Love Story of the
For more information, see www.voelkerfoundation.com and www.amff.org.