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 have included Redeployment by Phil Klay, The Good Lord Bird by James McBride, and The Round House by Louise Erdrich. 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, E Annie Proulx and many more. An elite few have won the award more than once, including Bellow, Faulkner, and Updike.

As we approach the announcement of the 2015 National Book Award for Fiction, take a look at this year's semi-finalists and explore the 68 winning books since the prize's inaugural year in 1950. Autographed award-winners are aplenty on AbeBooks - all the way from Algren to Klay. Come back on October 14th to see the finalists!

2015 National Book Award for Fiction Longlist

Honeydew by Edith Pearlman Honeydew

Edith Pearlman

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National Book Award for Fiction Winners (1950-2014)

JR by William Gaddis



William Gaddis

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The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams

1975 =

The Hair of Harold Roux

Thomas Williams

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Them by Joyce Carol Oates



Joyce Carol Oates

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Steps by Jerzy Kosinski



Jerzy Kosinski

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A Fable by William Faulkner


A Fable

William Faulkner

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What's your favorite piece of American fiction?