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 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.

National Book Award for Fiction Winners

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