Skip to Main Content

National Book Award Winners (Fiction)

National Book Award Winners (Fiction)
Fortune Smiles : Stories
by Adam Johnson

A major story collection by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Orphan Master's Son includes two previously unpublished pieces and explores themes of love, loss and the consequences of decisions made in the face of tragedy.

2015 National Book Award for Fiction
by Phil Klay

A collection of short stories by a former Marine captain and Iraq veteran focuses on the complexities of life for soldiers on the front lines and after, exploring themes ranging from brutality and faith to guilt and survival in such stories as "After Action Report" and "Money as Weapons System."

2014 National Book Award for Fiction
The Good Lord Bird
by James McBride

Fleeing her violent master at the side of legendary abolitionist John Brown at the height of the slavery debate in mid-19th-century Kansas Territory, Henry pretends to be a girl to hide his identity throughout the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.

2013 National Book Award for Fiction
The Round House
by Louise Erdrich

When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

2012 National Book Award for Fiction
Salvage the Bones
by Jesmyn Ward

Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups.

2011 National Book Award for Fiction
Lord of Misrule
by Jaimy Gordon

At the rock-bottom end of the sport of kings sits the ruthless and often violent world of cheap horse racing, where trainers and jockeys, grooms and hotwalkers, loan sharks and touts all struggle to take an edge, or prove their luck, or just survive.

2010 National Book Award for Fiction
Let the Great World Spin
by Colum McCann

In a tale set in Manhattan of 1974, a radical young Irish monk struggles with personal demons while making his home among Bronx prostitutes, a group of mothers is separated by personal differences in spite of shared grief over their lost Vietnam soldier sons, and a young grandmother attempts to prove her worth by soliciting men at the side of her teenage daughter.

2009 National Book Award for Fiction
Shadow Country : a New Rendering of the Watson Legend
by Peter Matthiessen

A richly textured reworking of the author's classic trilogy--Killing Mister Watson, Lost Man's River, and Bone by Bone--chronicles the legacy of E. J. Watson, a notorious desperado gunned down by his neighbors along the lawless nineteenth-century frontier of the Florida Everglades.

2008 National Book Award for Fiction
Tree of Smoke
by Denis Johnson

The lives of Skip Sands, a spy-in-training engaged in psychological operations against the Vietcong, and brothers Bill and James Houston, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert into a war, intertwine in a compelling novel of America during the Vietnam War.
The Echo Maker
by Richard Powers

Twenty-seven-year-old Mark Schluter, suffering from a rare brain disorder that causes him to believe his sister to be an impostor, endeavors to discover the cause of the motor vehicle accident that resulted in his head injury.

2006 National Book Award for Fiction
Europe Central
by William T. Vollmann

A series of interconnected stories seeks to contrast the moral decisions made by famous and everyday individuals with regard to the warring authoritarian cultures of Germany and the USSR in the twentieth century, from a pair of generals who collaborate with the enemy to two heroes who place themselves at risk for their countries.

2005 National Book Award for Fiction
The News From Paraguay
by Lily Tuck

Pursued by the future dictator of nineteenth-century Paraguay, Irish courtesan Ella Lynch struggles with isolation and displacement in spite of her power as his mistress, and witnesses the nation's victimization in the wake of her lover's arrogant ambitions.

2004 National Book Award for Fiction
The Great Fire
by Shirley Hazzard

In the aftermath of World War Two, young men and women living in Europe and Asia must reconstruct their lives amid the ashes of war, including a young soldier who confronts the reality that material goods and success are not enough, and a woman living in Japan who tends to her dying brother.

2003 National Book Award for Fiction
Three Junes
by Julia Glass

The interconnected lives, loves, and relationships of different generations of the McLeod family are revealed over the course of three crucial summers, in a debut novel about love, death, and birth in a Scottish family.

2002 National Book Award for Fiction
The Corrections
by Jonathan Franzen

Enid Lambert begins to worry about her husband when he begins to withdraw and lose himself in negativity and depression as he faces Parkinson's disease.

2001 National Book Award for Fiction
In America
by Susan Sontag

Poland's greatest living actress leads a utopian community to the wilds of 1876 California, where she will struggle to maintain love, hope, and idealism in the harsh reality of the American West.

2000 National Book Award for Fiction