Book Awards

National Book Award for Fiction Winners List

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National Book Award

The National Book Award for Fiction is one of five annual National Book Awards, which recognize outstanding literary work by United States citizens. Since 1987 the awards have been administered and presented by the National Book Foundation, but they are awards “by writers to writers”. The panelists are five “writers who are known to be doing great work in their genre or field”.

General fiction was one of four categories when the awards were re-established in 1950. For several years beginning 1980, prior to the Foundation, there were multiple fiction categories: hardcover, paperback, first novel or first work of fiction; from 1981 to 1983 hardcover and paperback children’s fiction; and only in 1980 five awards to mystery fiction, science fiction, and western fiction. When the Foundation celebrated the 60th postwar awards in 2009, all but three of the 77 previous winners in fiction categories were in print. The 77 included all eight 1980 winners but excluded the 1981 to 1983 children’s fiction winners.

The award recognizes one book written by a U.S. citizen and published in the U.S. from December 1 to November 30. The National Book Foundation accepts nominations from publishers until June 15, requires mailing nominated books to the panelists by August 1, and announces five finalists in October. The winner is announced on the day of the final ceremony in November. The award is $10,000 and a bronze sculpture; other finalists get $1000, a medal, and a citation written by the panel.

Authors who have won the award more than once include such noted figures as William Faulkner, John Updike, William Gaddis, Jesmyn Ward, and Philip Roth, each having won the award on two occasions along with numerous other nominations. Saul Bellow won the award in three decades (1954, 1965, 1971) and is the only author to have won the National Book Award for Fiction three times.

National Book Award Winners from 1950-1979

For each award, the winner is listed first followed by the finalists. Unless otherwise noted, the year represents the year the award was given for books published in the prior year. Thus, the award year 1950 is for books published in 1949.

National Book Award Winners from 1950-1979
1950Nelson AlgrenThe Man with the Golden Arm
1951William FaulknerCollected Stories of William Faulkner
1952James JonesFrom Here to Eternity
James AgeeThe Morning Watch
Truman CapoteThe Grass Harp
William FaulknerRequiem for a Nun
Caroline GordonThe Strange Children
Thomas MannThe Holy Sinner
John P. MarquandMelville Goodwin USA
J. D. SalingerThe Catcher in the Rye
William StyronLie Down in Darkness
Jessamyn WestThe Witch Diggers
Herman WoukThe Caine Mutiny
1953Ralph EllisonInvisible Man
Isabel BoltonMany Mansions
H. L. DavisWinds of Morning
Thomas GallagherThe Gathering Darkness
Ernest HemingwayThe Old Man and the Sea
Carl JonasJefferson Selleck
Peter MartinThe Landsman
May SartonA Shower of Summer Days
Jean StaffordThe Catherine Wheel
John SteinbeckEast of Eden
William Carlos WilliamsThe Build-Up
1954Saul BellowThe Adventures of Augie March
1955William FaulknerA Fable
Harriette ArnowThe Dollmaker
Hamilton BassoThe View from Pompey's Head
Davis GrubbThe Night of the Hunter
Randall JarrellPictures from an Institution
Milton LottThe Last Hunt
Frederick ManfredLord Grizzly
William MarchThe Bad Seed
Wright MorrisThe Huge Season
Frank RooneyThe Courts of Memory
John SteinbeckSweet Thursday
1956John O'HaraTen North Frederick
Paul BowlesThe Spider's House
Shirley Ann GrauThe Black Prince, and Other Stories
MacKinlay KantorAndersonville
Flannery O'ConnorA Good Man is Hard to Find
May SartonFaithful Are the Wounds
Robert Penn WarrenBand of Angels
Eudora WeltyThe Bride of the Innisfallen
Herman WoukMarjorie Morningstar
1957Wright MorrisThe Field of Vision
Nelson AlgrenA Walk on the Wild Side
James BaldwinGiovanni's Room
Saul BellowSeize the Day
B. J. ChuteGreenwillow
A. B. GuthrieThese Thousand Hills
John HerseyA Single Pebble
John HuntGenerations of Men
Edwin O'ConnorThe Last Hurrah
J. F. PowersThe Presence of Grace
Elizabeth SpencerThe Voice at the Back Door
James ThurberFurther Fables for Our Time
1958John CheeverThe Wapshot Chronicle
James AgeeA Death in the Family
James Gould CozzensBy Love Possessed
Mark HarrisSomething About a Soldier
Andrew LytleThe Velvet Horn
Bernard MalamudThe Assistant
Wright MorrisLove Among the Cannibals
Vladimir NabokovPnin
Ayn RandAtlas Shrugged
Nancy Wilson RossThe Return of Lady Brace
May SartonThe Birth of a Grandfather
1959Bernard MalamudThe Magic Barrel
J. P. DonleavyThe Ginger Man
William HumphreyHome from the Hill
Vladimir NabokovLolita
John O'HaraFrom the Terrace
J. R. SalamancaThe Lost Country
Anya SetonThe Winthrop Woman
Robert TraverAnatomy of a Murder
1960Philip RothGoodbye, Columbus
Louis AuchinclossPursuit of the Prodigal
Hamilton BassoThe Light Infantry Ball
Saul BellowHenderson the Rain King
Evan S. Connell, Jr.Mrs. Bridge
William FaulknerThe Mansion
Mark HarrisWake Up, Stupid
John HerseyThe War Lover
H. L. HumesMen Die
Shirley JacksonThe Haunting of Hill House
Elizabeth JanewayThe Third Choice
James JonesThe Pistol
Warren MillerThe Cool World
James PurdyMalcolm
Leo RostenThe Return of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N
John UpdikeThe Poorhouse Fair
Robert Penn WarrenThe Cave
Morris WestThe Devil's Advocate
1961Conrad RichterThe Waters of Kronos
Louis AuchinclossThe House of Five Talents
Kay BoyleGeneration Without Farewell
John HerseyThe Child Buyer
John KnowlesA Separate Peace
Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird
Wright MorrisCeremony in Lone Tree
Flannery O'ConnorThe Violent Bear It Away
Elizabeth SpencerThe Light in the Piazza and Other Italian Tales
Francis SteegmullerThe Christening Party
John UpdikeRabbit, Run
Mildred WalkerThe Body of a Young Man
1962Walker PercyThe Moviegoer
Hortense CalisherFalse Entry
George P. ElliottAmong the Dangs
Joseph HellerCatch-22
Bernard MalamudA New Life
William MaxwellThe Chateau
J. D. SalingerFranny and Zooey
Isaac Bashevis SingerThe Spinoza of Market Street and Other Stories
Edward Lewis WallantThe Pawnbroker
Joan WilliamsThe Morning and the Evening
Richard YatesRevolutionary Road
1963J. F. PowersMorte d'Urban
Vladimir NabokovPale Fire
Katherine Anne PorterShip of Fools
Dawn PowellThe Golden Spur
Clancy SigalGoing Away
John UpdikePigeon Feathers and Other Stories
1964John UpdikeThe Centaur
Bernard MalamudIdiots First
Mary McCarthyThe Group
Thomas PynchonV.
Harvey SwadosThe Will
1965Saul BellowHerzog
Louis AuchinclossThe Rector of Justin
John HawkesSecond Skin
Richard E. KimThe Martyred
Wallace MarkfieldTo an Early Grave
Vladimir NabokovThe Defense
Isaac Bashevis SingerShort Friday
1966Katherine Anne PorterThe Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter
Jesse Hill FordThe Liberation of Lord Byron Jones
Peter MatthiessenAt Play in the Fields of the Lord
James MerrillThe (Diblos) Notebook
Flannery O'ConnorEverything That Rises Must Converge
Harry Mark PetrakisPericles on 31st Street
1967Bernard MalamudThe Fixer
Louis AuchinclossThe Embezzler
Edwin O'ConnorAll in the Family
Walker PercyThe Last Gentleman
Harry Mark PetrakisA Dream of Kings
Wilfrid SheedOffice Politics
1968Thornton WilderThe Eighth Day
Norman MailerWhy Are We in Vietnam?
Joyce Carol OatesA Garden of Earthly Delights
Chaim PotokThe Chosen
William StyronConfessions of Nat Turner
1969Jerzy KosińskiSteps
John BarthLost in the Funhouse
Frederick ExleyA Fan's Notes
Joyce Carol OatesExpensive People
Thomas RogersThe Pursuit of Happiness
1970Joyce Carol Oatesthem
Leonard GardnerFat City
Leonard MichaelsGoing Places
Jean StaffordThe Collected Stories of Jean Stafford
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.Slaughterhouse Five or The Children's Crusade
1971Saul BellowMr. Sammler's Planet
James DickeyDeliverance
Shirley HazzardThe Bay of Noon
John UpdikeBech: A Book
Eudora WeltyLosing Battles
1972Flannery O'ConnorThe Complete Stories
Frederick BuechnerLion Country
E. L. DoctorowThe Book of Daniel
Stanley ElkinThe Dick Gibson Show
Tom McHaleFarragan's Retreat
Joyce Carol OatesWonderland
Cynthia OzickThe Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories
Walker PercyLove in the Ruins
Earl ThompsonA Garden of Sand
John UpdikeRabbit Redux
1973John BarthChimera
1973John Edward WilliamsAugustus
Brock BrowerThe Late Great Creature
Alan H. FriedmanHermaphrodeity
Barry HannahGeronimo Rex
George V. HigginsThe Friends of Eddie Coyle
R. M. KosterThe Prince
Vladimir NabokovTransparent Things
Ishmael ReedMumbo Jumbo
Thomas RogersThe Confessions of a Child of the Century
Isaac Bashevis SingerEnemies, A Love Story
Eudora WeltyThe Optimist's Daughter
1974Thomas PynchonGravity's Rainbow
1974Isaac Bashevis SingerA Crown of Feathers and Other Stories
Doris BettsBeasts of the Southern Wild and Other Stories
John CheeverThe World of Apples
Ellen DouglasApostles of Light
Stanley ElkinSearches and Seizures
John GardnerNickel Mountain
John LeonardBlack Conceit
Thomas McGuaneNinety-Two in the Shade
Wilfrid SheedPeople Will Always Be Kind
Gore VidalBurr
Joy WilliamsState of Grace
1975Robert StoneDog Soldiers
1975Thomas WilliamsThe Hair of Harold Roux
Donald BarthelmeGuilty Pleasures
Gail GodwinThe Odd Woman
Joseph HellerSomething Happened
Toni MorrisonSula
Vladimir NabokovLook at the Harlequins!
Grace PaleyEnormous Changes at the Last Minute
Philip RothMy Life As a Man
Mark SmithThe Death of a Detective
1976William GaddisJ R
Saul BellowHumboldt's Gift
Hortense CalisherThe Collected Stories of Hortense Calisher
Johanna KaplanOther People's Lives
Vladimir NabokovTyrants Destroyed and Other Stories
Larry WoiwodeBeyond the Bedroom Wall
1977Wallace StegnerThe Spectator Bird
Raymond CarverWill You Please Be Quiet, Please?
MacDonald HarrisThe Balloonist
Ursula K. Le GuinOrsinian Tales
Cynthia Propper SetonA Fine Romance
1978Mary Lee SettleBlood Tie
Robert CooverThe Public Burning
Peter De VriesMadder Music
James Alan McPhersonElbow Room
John SaylesUnion Dues
1979Tim O'BrienGoing After Cacciato
John CheeverThe Stories of John Cheever
John IrvingThe World According to Garp
Diane JohnsonLying Low
David PlanteThe Family

National Book Award Winners from 1980-1983

For 1980 to 1983 this list covers the paired “Fiction (hardcover)” and “Fiction (paperback)” awards in that order. Hard and paper editions were distinguished only in these four years; none of the paperback winners were original; in their first editions all had been losing finalists in 1979 or 1981.

National Book Award Winners from 1980-1983
1980 hardcoverWilliam StyronSophie's Choice
James BaldwinJust Above My Head
Norman MailerThe Executioner's Song
Philip RothThe Ghost Writer
Scott SpencerEndless Love
1980 paperbackJohn IrvingThe World According to Garp
Paul BowlesCollected Stories
Gail GodwinViolet Clay
John UpdikeToo Far to Go
Marguerite YoungMiss MacIntosh, My Darling, Volumes 1 and 2
1981 hardcoverWright MorrisPlains Song: For Female Voices
Shirley HazzardThe Transit of Venus
William MaxwellSo Long, See You Tomorrow
Walker PercyThe Second Coming
Eudora WeltyThe Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
1981 paperbackJohn CheeverThe Stories of John Cheever
Thomas FlanaganThe Year of the French
Norman MailerThe Executioner's Song
Scott SpencerEndless Love
Herman WoukWar and Remembrance
1982 hardcoverJohn UpdikeRabbit is Rich
Mark HelprinEllis Island and Other Stories
John IrvingThe Hotel New Hampshire
Robert StoneA Flag for Sunrise
William WhartonDad
1982 paperbackWilliam MaxwellSo Long, See You Tomorrow
E. L. DoctorowLoon Lake
Shirley HazzardThe Transit of Venus
Walker PercyThe Second Coming
Anne TylerMorgan's Passing
1983 hardcoverAlice WalkerThe Color Purple
Gail GodwinA Mother and Two Daughters
Bobbie Ann MasonShiloh and Other Stories
Paul TherouxThe Mosquito Coast
Anne TylerDinner at the Homesick Restaurant
1983 paperbackEudora WeltyThe Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
David BradleyThe Chaneysville Incident
Mary GordonThe Company of Women
Marilynne RobinsonHousekeeping
Robert StoneA Flag for Sunrise

National Book Award Winners from 1984-2020

National Book Award Winners from 1984-2020
1984Ellen GilchristVictory Over Japan: A Book of Stories
Alison LurieForeign Affairs
Philip RothThe Anatomy Lesson
1985Don DeLilloWhite Noise
Ursula K. Le GuinAlways Coming Home
Hugh NissensonThe Tree of Life
1986E. L. DoctorowWorld's Fair
Norman RushWhites
Peter TaylorA Summons to Memphis
1987Larry HeinemannPaco's Story
Alice McDermottThat Night
Toni MorrisonBeloved
Howard NormanThe Northern Lights
Philip RothThe Counterlife
1988Pete DexterParis Trout
Don DeLilloLibra
Mary McGarry MorrisVanished
J. F. PowersWheat That Springeth Green
Anne TylerBreathing Lessons
1989John CaseySpartina
E. L. DoctorowBilly Bathgate
Katherine DunnGeek Love
Oscar HijuelosMambo Kings Play Songs of Love
Amy TanThe Joy Luck Club
1990Charles JohnsonMiddle Passage
Felipe AlfauChromos
Elena CastedoParadise
Jessica HagedornDogeaters
Joyce Carol OatesBecause It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart
1991Norman RushMating
Louis BegleyWartime Lies
Stephen DixonFrog
Stanley ElkinThe MacGuffin
Sandra ScofieldBeyond Deserving
1992Cormac McCarthyAll the Pretty Horses
Dorothy AllisonBastard Out of Carolina
Cristina GarcíaDreaming in Cuban
Edward P. JonesLost in the City
Robert StoneOuterbridge Reach
1993E. Annie ProulxThe Shipping News
Amy BloomCome to Me: Stories
Thom JonesThe Pugilist at Rest
Richard PowersOperation Wandering Soul
Bob ShacochisSwimming in the Volcano
1994William GaddisA Frolic of His Own
Ellen CurrieMoses Supposes
Richard DoolingWhite Man's Grave
Howard NormanThe Bird Artist
Grace PaleyThe Collected Stories
1995Philip RothSabbath's Theater
Madison Smartt BellAll Souls' Rising
Edwidge DanticatKrik? Krak!
Stephen DixonInterstate
Rosario FerréThe House on the Lagoon
1996Andrea BarrettShip Fever and Other Stories
Ron HansenAtticus
Elizabeth McCrackenThe Giant's House
Steven MillhauserMartin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
Janet PeeryThe River Beyond the World
1997Charles FrazierCold Mountain
Don DeLilloUnderworld
Diane JohnsonLe Divorce
Ward JustEcho House
Cynthia OzickThe Puttermesser Papers
1998Alice McDermottCharming Billy
Allegra GoodmanKaaterskill Falls
Gayl JonesThe Healing
Robert StoneDamascus Gate
Tom WolfeA Man in Full
1999Ha JinWaiting
Andre Dubus IIIHouse of Sand and Fog
Kent HarufPlainsong
Patricia HenleyHummingbird House
Jean ThompsonWho Do You Love
2000Susan SontagIn America
Charles BaxterThe Feast of Love
Alan LightmanThe Diagnosis
Joyce Carol OatesBlonde
Francine ProseBlue Angel
2001Jonathan FranzenThe Corrections
Dan ChaonAmong the Missing
Jennifer EganLook at Me
Louise ErdrichThe Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse
Susan StraightHighwire Moon
2002Julia GlassThree Junes
Mark CostelloBig If
Adam HaslettYou Are Not a Stranger Here
Martha McPheeGorgeous Lies
Brad WatsonThe Heaven of Mercury
2003Shirley HazzardThe Great Fire
T. C. BoyleDrop City
Edward P. JonesThe Known World
Scott SpencerA Ship Made of Paper
Marianne WigginsEvidence of Things Unseen: A Novel
2004Lily TuckThe News from Paraguay
Sarah Shun-lien BynumMadeleine is Sleeping
Christine SchuttFlorida
Joan SilberIdeas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories
Kate WalbertOur Kind
2005William T. VollmannEurope Central
E.L. DoctorowThe March
Mary GaitskillVeronica
Christopher SorrentinoTrance
Rene SteinkeHoly Skirts
2006Richard PowersThe Echo Maker
Mark Z. DanielewskiOnly Revolutions
Ken KalfusA Disorder Peculiar to the Country
Dana SpiottaEat the Document
Jess WalterThe Zero
2007Denis JohnsonTree of Smoke
Mischa BerlinskiFieldwork
Lydia DavisVarieties of Disturbance
Joshua FerrisThen We Came to the End
Jim ShepardLike You'd Understand, Anyway
2008Peter MatthiessenShadow Country
Aleksandar HemonThe Lazarus Project
Rachel KushnerTelex from Cuba
Marilynne RobinsonHome
Salvatore ScibonaThe End
2009Colum McCannLet the Great World Spin
Bonnie Jo CampbellAmerican Salvage
Daniyal MueenuddinIn Other Rooms, Other Wonders
Jayne Anne PhillipsLark and Termite
Marcel TherouxFar North
2010Jaimy GordonLord of Misrule
Peter CareyParrot and Olivier in America
Nicole KraussGreat House
Lionel ShriverSo Much for That
Karen Tei YamashitaI Hotel
2011Jesmyn WardSalvage the Bones
Andrew KrivakThe Sojourn
Téa ObrehtThe Tiger's Wife
Julie OtsukaThe Buddha in the Attic
Edith PearlmanBinocular Vision
2012Louise ErdrichThe Round House
Junot Dí­azThis Is How You Lose Her
Dave EggersA Hologram for the King
Ben FountainBilly Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Kevin PowersThe Yellow Birds
2013James McBrideThe Good Lord Bird
Rachel KushnerThe Flamethrowers
Jhumpa LahiriThe Lowland
Thomas PynchonBleeding Edge
George SaundersTenth of December: Stories
2014Phil KlayRedeployment
Rabih AlameddineAn Unnecessary Woman
Anthony DoerrAll the Light We Cannot See
Emily St. John MandelStation Eleven
Marilynne RobinsonLila
2015Adam JohnsonFortune Smiles
Karen BenderRefund: Stories
Lauren GroffFates and Furies
Angela FlournoyThe Turner House
Hanya YanagiharaA Little Life
2016Colson WhiteheadThe Underground Railroad
Chris BachelderThe Throwback Special
Paulette JilesNews of the World
Karan MahajanThe Association of Small Bombs
Jacqueline WoodsonAnother Brooklyn
2017Jesmyn WardSing, Unburied, Sing
Elliot AckermanDark at the Crossing
Lisa KoThe Leavers
Min Jin LeePachinko
Carmen Maria MachadoHer Body and Other Parties
2018Sigrid NunezThe Friend
Jamel BrinkleyA Lucky Man
Lauren GroffFlorida
Brandon HobsonWhere the Dead Sit Talking
Rebecca MakkaiThe Great Believers
2019Susan ChoiTrust Exercise
Kali Fajardo-AnstineSabrina & Corina: Stories
Marlon JamesBlack Leopard, Red Wolf
Laila LalamiThe Other Americans
Julia PhillipsDisappearing Earth
2020Charles YuInterior Chinatown
Rumaan AlamLeave the World Behind
Lydia MilletA Children's Bible
Deesha PhilyawThe Secret Lives of Church Ladies
Douglas StuartShuggie Bain
2021Jason MottHell of a Book
Anthony DoerrCloud Cuckoo Land
Lauren GroffMatrix
Laird HunZorrie
Robert Jones JThe Prophets


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