Award: National Book Award

The National Book Award statue

A consortium of book publishing groups sponsored the first annual National Book Awards Ceremony. Their goal was to enhance public awareness of exceptional books written by Americans, and to increase the popularity of reading in general. The Ceremony was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The year was 1950.

Since then, The National Book Awards have become the nation's preeminent literary prizes. Today, the Awards are bestowed every Autumn by the National Book Foundation in four genres. The winners are selected by five-member, independent judging panels for each genre, and receive a $10,000 cash award and a bronze sculpture.

Eligible books must be authored by a U.S. citizen and published in the U.S. in English.

These are categories. See below for obsolete categories.


  • The madness of the early 1980s sometimes caused a book to be a finalist in two different years—in a hardcover category and later in paperback. To protect the integrity of the ranking in the old site, those books are listed only in the year for which they are a hardcover finalist, unless they actually won as a paperback. One of these days, these books should be added to the paperback annal with a score of “nominee*” and a note.

Discontinued categories

The National Book Awards have experimented with different categories over the years. It began with three categories in 1950, began adding categories in 1964, reached a peak of twenty-seven categories in 1980, and cut back rather suddenly to three categories in 1984. Needless to say, so many categories makes navigation of this site rather complicated.

Discontinued Fiction categories

Excepting “First Fiction”, these were awarded in only one year.

Discontinued Nonfiction categories

A category cleverly entitled “Science/Philosophy/Religion” (1964–1668) is not shown. “Arts and Letters” and “History and Biography” both began in 1964. “Science” was also awarded in 1969.

“Current Interest” was actually named Contemporary Affairs (1972–1976), Contemporary Thought (1977–1979), and finally Current Interest (1980).

Other Discontinued categories

“Translation” category began in 1967.

Event Calendar

? Event Calendar
October 2013


NBA finalists
November 2013


NBA winners


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