Presenter of the National Book Awards

The Contenders: 61 Years of National Book Award Fiction Finalists

1951
Brendan Gill
1952
James Agee
1952
Truman Capote
1952
William Faulkner
1952
Caroline Gordon
1952
Thomas Mann
1952
John P. Marquand
1952
J. D. Salinger
1952
William Styron
1952
Jessamyn West
1952
Herman Wouk
1953
Isabel Bolton
1953
H. L. Davis
1953
Thomas Gallagher
1953
Ernest Hemingway
1953
Carl Jonas
1953
Peter Martin
1953
May Sarton
1953
Jean Stafford
1953
John Steinbeck
1953
William Carlos Williams
1953
Harriette Arnow
1955
Hamilton Basso
1955
Davis Grubb
1955
Randall Jarrell
1955
Milton Lott
1955
Frederick Manfred
1955
William March
1955
Wright Morris
1955
Frank Rooney
1955
John Steinbeck
1956
Paul Bowles
1956
Shirley Ann Grau
1956
MacKinlay Kantor
1956
Flannery O'Connor
1956
May Sarton
1956
Robert Penn Warren
1956
Eudora Welty
1956
Herman Wouk
1957
Nelson Algren
1957
James Baldwin
1957
Saul Bellow
1957
B.J. Chute
1957
John Hersey
1957
Generations of Men
By John Hunt
1957
Edwin O'Connor
1957
J. F. Powers
1957
Elizabeth Spencer
1957
James Thurber
1958
James Agee
1958
James Gould Cozzens
1958
Mark Harris
1958
Andrew Lytle
1958
Bernard Malamud
1958
Wright Morris
1958
Vladimir Nabokov
1958
Ayn Rand
1958
Nancy Wilson Ross
1958
May Sarton
1959
J. P. Donleavy
1959
William Humphrey
1959
Vladimir Nabokov
1959
John O'Hara
1959
J. R. Salamanca
1959
Anya Seton
1959
Robert Traver
1960
Louis Auchincloss
1960
Hamilton Basso
1960
Saul Bellow
1960
Evan S. Connell, Jr.
1960
William Faulkner
1960
Mark Harris
1960
John Hersey
1960
H.L. Humes
1960
Shirley Jackson
1960
Elizabeth Janeway
1960
James Jones
1960
Warren Miller
1960
James Purdy
1960
Leo Rosten
1960
John Updike
1960
Robert Penn Warren
1960
Morris West
1961
Louis Auchincloss
1961
Kay Boyle
1961
John Hersey
1961
John Knowles
1961
Harper Lee
1961
Wright Morris
1961
Flannery O'Connor
1961
Elizabeth Spencer
1961
Francis Steegmuller
1961
John Updike
1961
Mildred Walker
1962
Hortense Calisher
1962
George P. Elliott
1962
Joseph Heller
1962
Bernard Malamud
1962
William Maxwell
1962
J.D. Salinger
1962
Isaac Bashevis Singer
1962
Edward Lewis Wallant
1962
Joan Williams
1962
Richard Yates
1963
Vladimir Nabokov
1963
Katherine Anne Porter
1963
Vladimir Nabokov
1963
Dawn Powell
1963
Clancy Sigal
1963
John Updike
1964
Bernard Malamud
1964
Mary McCarthy
1964
Thomas Pynchon
1964
Harvey Swados
1965
Louis Auchincloss
1965
John Hawkes
1965
Richard E. Kim
1965
Wallace Markfield
1965
Vladimir Nabokov
1965
Isaac Bashevis Singer
1966
Jesse Hill Ford
1966
Peter Matthiessen
1966
James Merrill
1966
Flannery O'Connor
1966
Harry Mark Petrakis
1967
Louis Auchincloss
1967
Edwin O'Connor
1967
Walker Percy
1967
Harry Mark Petrakis
1967
Wilfrid Sheed
1968
Norman Mailer
1968
Joyce Carol Oates
1968
Chaim Potok
1968
William Styron
1969
John Barth
1969
Frederick Exley
1969
Joyce Carol Oates
1969
Thomas Rogers
1970
Leonard Gardner
1970
Leonard Michaels
1970
Jean Stafford
1970
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
1971
James Dickey
1971
Shirley Hazzard
1971
John Updike
1971
Eudora Welty
1972
Frederick Buechner
1972
E.L. Doctorow
1972
Stanley Elkin
1972
Tom McHale
1972
Joyce Carol Oates
1972
Cynthia Ozick
1972
Walker Percy
1972
Earl Thompson
1972
John Updike
1973
Brock Brower
1973
Alan Friedman
1973
Barry Hannah
1973
George V. Higgins
1973
R. M. Koster
1973
Vladimir Nabokov
1973
Ishmael Reed
1973
Thomas Rogers
1973
Isaac Bashevis Singer
1973
Eudora Welty
1974
Doris Betts
1974
John Cheever
1974
Ellen Douglas
1974
Stanley Elkin
1974
John Gardner
1974
John Leonard
1974
Thomas McGuane
1974
Wilfrid Sheed
1974
Gore Vidal
1974
Joy Williams
1975
Donald Barthelme
1975
Gail Godwin
1975
Joseph Heller
1975
Toni Morrison
1975
Vladimir Nabokov
1975
Grace Paley
1975
Philip Roth
1975
Mark Smith
1976
Saul Bellow
1976
Hortense Calisher
1976
Johanna Kaplan
1976
Vladimir Nabokov
1976
Larry Woiwode
1977
Raymond Carver
1977
MacDonald Harris
1977
Ursula K. Le Guin
1977
Cynthia Propper Seton
1978
Robert Coover
1978
Peter De Vries
1978
James Alan McPherson
1978
John Sayles
1979
John Cheever
1979
John Irving
1979
Diane Johnson
1979
David Plante
1980
James Baldwin
1980
Norman Mailer
1980
Philip Roth
1980
Scott Spencer
1980
Paul Bowles
1980
Gail Godwin
1980
John Updike
1980
Marguerite Young
1980
Terry Davis
1980
Stratis Haviaras
1980
Philip F. O’Connor
1980
Alan Saperstein
1980
Lucille Kallen
1980
William X. Kienzle
1980
Arthur Maling
1980
Lawrence Meyer
1980
R. Wright Campbell
1980
Sean Flannery
1980
Tony Hillerman
1980
Michael Kurland
1980
John Crowley
1980
Thomas M. Disch
1980
Jerry Pournelle
1980
Kate Wilhelm
1980
Samuel R. Delany
1980
Vonda N. McIntyre
1980
Norman Spinrad
1980
John Varley
1980
Benjamin Capps
1980
Loren D. Estleman
1980
Brian Garfield
1980
G. Clifton Wisler
1981
Shirley Hazzard
1981
William Maxwell
1981
Walker Percy
1981
Eudora Welty
1981
Thomas Flanagan
1981
Norman Mailer
1981
Scott Spencer
1981
Herman Wouk
1981
Jean M. Auel
1981
Philip Caputo
1981
Johanna Kaplan
1981
Lynne Sharon Schwartz
1982
Mark Helprin
1982
John Irving
1982
Robert Stone
1982
William Wharton
1982
E. L. Doctorow
1982
Shirley Hazzard
1982
Walker Percy
1982
Anne Tyler
1982
Celia Gittelson
1982
Bette Bao Lord
1982
Leonard Michaels
1982
Ted Mooney
1983
Gail Godwin
1983
Bobbie Ann Mason
1983
Paul Theroux
1983
Anne Tyler
1983
David Bradley
1983
Mary Gordon
1983
Marilynne Robinson
1983
Robert Stone
1983
Gail Albert
1983
John M. Del Vecchio
1983
Susanna Moore
1983
David Small
1984
Alison Lurie
1984
Philip Roth
1984
Kem Nunn
1984
Padgett Powell
1985
Ursula K. Le Guin
1985
Hugh Nissenson
1985
Elizabeth Benedict
1985
Cecile Pineda
1986
Norman Rush
1987
Alice McDermott
1987
Toni Morrison
1987
Howard Norman
1987
Philip Roth
1988
Don DeLillo
1988
Mary McGarry Morris
1988
James F. Powers
1988
Anne Tyler
1989
E.L. Doctorow
1989
Katherine Dunn
1989
Oscar Hijuelos
1989
Amy Tan
1990
Felipe Alfau
1990
Elena Castedo
1990
Jessica Hagedorn
1990
Joyce Carol Oates
1991
Louis Begley
1991
Stephen Dixon
1991
Stanley Elkin
1991
Sandra Scofield
1992
Dorothy Allison
1992
Cristina García
1992
Edward P. Jones
1992
Robert Stone
1993
Amy Bloom
1993
Thom Jones
1993
Richard Powers
1993
Bob Shacochis
1994
Ellen Currie
1994
Richard Dooling
1994
Howard Norman
1994
Grace Paley
1995
Madison Smartt Bell
1995
Edwidge Danticat
1995
Stephen Dixon
1995
Rosario Ferré
1996
Ron Hansen
1996
Elizabeth McCracken
1996
Steven Millhauser
1996
Janet Peery
1997
Don DeLillo
1997
Diane Johnson
1997
Ward Just
1997
Cynthia Ozick
1998
Allegra Goodman
1998
Gayl Jones
1998
Robert Stone
1998
Tom Wolfe
1999
Andre Dubus III
1999
Kent Haruf
1999
Patricia Henley
1999
Jean Thompson
2000
Charles Baxter
2000
Alan Lightman
2000
Joyce Carol Oates
2000
Francine Prose
2001
Dan Chaon
2001
Jennifer Egan
2001
Louise Erdrich
2001
Susan Straight
2002
Mark Costello
2002
Adam Haslett
2002
Martha McPhee
2002
Brad Watson
2003
T. C. Boyle
2003
Edward P. Jones
2003
Scott Spencer
2003
Marianne Wiggins
2004
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
2004
Christine Schutt
2004
Joan Silber
2004
Kate Walbert
2005
E.L. Doctorow
2005
Mary Gaitskill
2005
Christopher Sorrentino
2005
René Steinke
2006
Mark Z. Danielewski
2006
Ken Kalfus
2006
Dana Spiotta
2006
Jess Walter
2007
Mischa Berlinski
2007
Lydia Davis
2007
Joshua Ferris
2007
Jim Shepard
2008
Aleksandar Hemon
2008
Rachel Kushner
2008
Marilynne Robinson
2008
Salvatore Scibona
2009
Bonnie Jo Campbell
2009
Daniyal Mueenuddin
2009
Jayne Anne Phillips
2009
Marcel Theroux
2010
Peter Carey
2010
Nicole Krauss
2010
Lionel Shriver
2010
Karen Tei Yamashita
2011
Andrew Krivak
2011
Téa Obreht
2011
Julie Otsuka
2011
Edith Pearlman
To scroll through book covers, place cursor over an image and use mouse or keyboard arrows, or click the bar below the images.

An Online Exhibition

Since the Award’s inception in 1950, a total of 80 books have won the National Book Award for Fiction. These range from the well known and well loved―Saul Bellow’s Herzog and Flannery O’Connor’s Complete Stories―to the lesser known―Walter Wangerin, Jr.’s The Book of the Dun Cow―and out of print―John O’Hara’s Ten North Frederick. But regardless of their present status, each of these books will forever be a National Book Award Winner, the best of the best American fiction that year.

But what about the books and authors that didn’t win, the hundreds of Fiction Finalists that only came close? You might guess that these are even less familiar than the unfamiliar Winners, but the list delivers many surprises. Hemingway, Nabokov, Vonnegut, Morrison, Paley―all were nominated, some more than once, but none ever won the National Book Award. The long list of Fiction Finalists offers other surprises, too. Did you know that Edwin O’Connor, a Finalist in 1957 for The Last Hurrah, coined the term “last hurrah”? Or that Lucille Kallen, nominated in 1980 for Introducing C.B. Greenfield, was the only woman on the team of comedy writers for Sid Caesar's ''Your Show of Shows,'' which was broadcast live on Saturday nights from 1950 to 1954?

We encourage you to get to know these 373 NBA-nominated works of fiction and their authors, and we invite you to share your comments at the bottom of each exhibition page. Also, since information on some of the Finalists is scarce, we welcome any additional materials (biographical information, photos, speeches, etc.) that you might be able to contribute to the exhibition. Please email us at nationalbook@nationalbook.org.

Special thanks to 5 Under 35 honorees Kirstin Allio, Matthew Eck, Amity Gaige, Asali Solomon, Josh Weil, Tiphanie Yanique, and Charles Yu for providing wonderful appreciations of the following Finalist books:

Please note: National Book Award Fiction Winners are not included in this exhibition. If you’d like to learn more about the Winners, please visit our NBA Fiction Blog.

Production Credits:

Exhibition design and layout by Meredith Andrews
Book and author information compiled by Amy Gall
Appreciations curated and edited by Rebecca Keith
Copywriting and editing by Katie McDonough

Development of this online exhibition was supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.