Books

The National Book Award archives: fiction winners since 1950

The original goal of the National Book Awards was to enhance America’s awareness of exceptional books written by fellow Americans. For over six decades, the National Book Awards, which are organized by the National Book Foundation, has acclaimed the cream of the literary crop.

The National Book Awards began in 1950 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City when The Man With the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren was named America’s premier piece of fiction from the previous year. Today, it’s the most important event on the American literary calendar and continues to recognize the best in American writing.

Recent winners in the fiction category have included Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu, The Friend by Sigrid Nunez, and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.. These acclaimed works now sit alongside the likes of From Here To Eternity, Invisible Man, Herzog, Gravity’s Rainbow, Rabbit is Rich, All The Pretty Horses and Cold Mountain. The list of winning authors reads like a who’s who of American literature – Wallace Stegner, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Walker, Annie Proulx and many more. An elite few have won the award more than once, including Bellow, Faulkner, and Updike and 2017's winner Jesmyn Ward who won her first National Book Award in 2011.

Explore the best American fiction since the prize's inaugural year in 1950. Autographed award-winners are aplenty on AbeBooks - all the way from Nelson Algren to Jesmyn Ward.

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National Book Award for Fiction winners

By Jason Mott
2021
By Charles Yu
2020
By Susan Choi
2019
By Sigrid Nunez
2018
By Jesmyn Ward
2017
By Colson Whitehead
2016
By Adam Johnson
2015
By Phil Klay
2014
By James McBride
2013
By Louise Erdrich
2012
By Jesmyn Ward
2011
By Jaimy Gordon
2010
By Colum McCann
2009
By Peter Matthiessen
2008
By Denis Johnson
2007
By Richard Powers
2006
By William T. Vollmann
2005
By Lily Tuck
2004
By Shirley Hazzard
2003
By Julia Glass
2002
By Jonathan Franzen
2001
By Susan Sontag
2000
By Ha Jin
1999
By Alice McDermott
1998
By Charles Frazier
1997
By Andrea Barrett
1996
By Philip Roth
1995
By William Gaddis
1994
By Annie Proulx
1993
By Cormac McCarthy
1992
By Norman Rush
1991
By Charles Johnson
1990
By John Casey
1989
By Pete Dexter
1988
By Larry Heinemann
1987
By E.L. Doctorow
1986
By Don Delillo
1985
By Ellen Gilchrist
1984
By Alice Walker
1983
By John Updike
1982
By Wright Morris
1981
By William Styron
1980
By Tim O'Brien
1979
By Mary Lee Settle
1978
By Wallace Stegner
1977
JR
By William Gaddis
1976
By Thomas Williams
1975 (tie)
By Robert Stone
1975 (tie)
By Isaac Bashevis Singer
1974 (tie)
By Thomas Pynchon
1974 (tie)
By John Williams
1973 (tie)
By John Barth
1973 (tie)
By Saul Bellow
1971
By Joyce Carol Oates
1970
By Jerzy Kosinski
1969
By Thornton Wilder
1968
By Bernard Malamud
1967
By Saul Bellow
1965
By John Updike
1964
By J.F. Powers
1963
By Walker Percy
1962
By Conrad Richter
1961
By Philip Roth
1960
By Bernard Malamud
1959
By John Cheever
1958
By Wright Morris
1957
By John O'Hara
1956
By William Faulkner
1955
By Ralph Ellison
1953
By James Jones
1952
By Nelson Algren
1950

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