National Book Award Winners
I did the Research so you don't have to!
Though a variety of awards were given as early as 1935, only literary awards have been given since 1950. Since 1996 the award has been given in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and YA fiction. The awards are given in November by the National Book Foundation. This list includes winners in Fiction since 2000. (I'm working on adding them all)
** Books I've read are in bold, reviewed books are bold and purple.
2022 - The Rabbit Hutch, Tess Gunty, 352 pages
"Inventive, heartbreaking, and acutely funny,” this novel centers on a low-cost Indiana housing complex that unites an unlikely group of people, including Blandine, a clever, beautiful young woman fresh from the foster care system who lives with a group of teenage boys. During one hot, stifling week in July, Blandine’s fate is transformed.
2021 - Hell of a Book, Jason Mott, 323 pages
An African-American author sets out on a cross-country book tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Jason Mott's novel and is the scaffolding of something much larger and more urgent: since his novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour.
2020 - Interior Chinatown, Charles Yu, 288 pages
A deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play.
2019 - Trust Exercise, Susan Choi, 257 pages
First love in an exclusive acting school is interrupted by the attentions of a charismatic instructor. The book explores the themes of loyalty, friendship, and the powers and responsibilities of adults.
2017 - Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward, 285 pages
Character-driven family drama about mixed-race children being raised by neglectful parents.
2016 - The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead, 306 pages
also Pulitzer winner - An actual underground railroad helps slaves escape the south and as slaves Cora and Caesar move north, they encounter various terrors and helpmates.
2015 - Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson, 304 pages
Six diverse stories that delve into love, loss, natural disasters, and technology.
2014 - Redeployment by Phil Klay, 288 pages
Front lines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: stories of what happened to soldiers in the wars and what happens to them when they return home.
2013 - The Good Lord Bird by James McBride, 417 pages
Young boy born as a slave must pass as a girl after he joins the John Brown anti-slavery crusade. Historical fiction adventure set in 1800s. (on my Kindle)
2012 - The Round House by Louise Erdrich, 323 pages
Set on a reservation in North Dakota, a young boy seeks understanding and justice after a terrible crime in this coming of age novel. (on my TBR)
2011 - Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, 261 pages
Taking a look at rural poverty as hurricane Katrina threatens Mississippi and a family of motherless children sacrifice for each other, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce, as they struggle through their days.
2010 - Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon, 294 pages
Small-time horse racing on a rundown West Virginia track: trainers, jockeys, grifters, used-up horses.
2009 - Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann, 351 pages
Weaving together the lives and stories of various people of New York City, this sweeping novel captures the pain, mystery and promise of the 70s.
2008 - Shadow Country, by Peter Matthiessen, 892 pages
A new rendering of three previous books of his that reimagines the life of a true-life notorious sugar planter and outlaw on the wild Florida frontier.
2007 - Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson, 614 pages
Spy-in-training against the Vietcong encounters disasters and in separate story line, two Arizona brothers' experiences serving in Viet Nam are explored.
2006 - The Echo Maker by Richard Powers, 449 pages
Man who comes out of a coma believes the sister who has been nursing him is actually an imposter. A doctor diagnoses him with a mysterious disease that will change all their lives.
2005 - Europe Central by William T. Vollmann, 811 pages
A portrait of human actions during wartime in the cultures of Germany and the USSR in the twentieth century.
2004 - The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck, 248 pages
Paris 1854, a young man courts an Irish courtesan; she follows him, as his mistress, as he becomes dictator of Paraguay and devastates the country.
2003 - The Great Fire by Shirley Hazard, 326 pages
The friendship of two men forged during WWII now must reinvent their future and find their humanity.
2002 - Three Junes by Julia Glass, 368 pages
A debut novel set in Greece, Scotland, and NYC follows the lives of three Scottish brothers as their lives intersect, diverge, intersect again.
2001 - The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, 653 pages
Family drama spanning decades and locales, three grown siblings try to make sense of their lives and mom deals with ailing husband but plans for one last Christmas.
2000 - In America by Susan Sontag, 387 pages
A famous Polish actress decides to emigrate to America with her family and friends and start a commune in southern California. The commune fails, people return to Poland, but actress stays and becomes a success.