Lists and Notable Articles and Prizes

The Prizewinners 2008/2009

By posted at 4:08 am on June 15, 2009 8

With the awarding of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award last week, the 2008/2009 literary award season is now over, which gives us the opportunity to update our list of prizewinners.

Though literary prizes are arbitrary in many ways, our prizewinners post is compiled in the same spirit that one might tally up batting titles and MVPs to determine if a baseball player should be considered for the Hall of Fame. These awards nudge an author towards the “canon” and secure them places on literature class reading lists for decades to come.

Most notably, after being named to the IMPAC shortlist, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz has joined the ranks of the most celebrated novels of the last 15 years, making it, along with the other books near the top of the list, something of a modern classic.

Here is our methodology:

I wanted to include both American books and British books, as well as the English-language books from other countries that are eligible to win some of these awards. I started with the National Book Award and the Pulitzer from the American side and the Booker and Costa from the British side. Because I wanted the British books to “compete” with the American books, I also looked at a couple of awards that recognize books from both sides of the ocean, the National Book Critics Circle Awards and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. The IMPAC is probably the weakest of all these, but since it is both more international and more populist than the other awards, I thought it added something. The glaring omission is the PEN/Faulkner, but it would have skewed everything too much in favor of the American books, so I left it out.

I looked at these six awards from 1995 to the present, awarding three points for winning an award and two points for an appearance on a shortlist or as a finalist. Here’s the key that goes with the list: B=Booker Prize, C=National Book Critics Circle Award, I=International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, N=National Book Award, P=Pulitzer Prize, W=Costa Book Award [formerly the Whitbread] bold=winner, red=New to the list or moved up* the list since last year’s “Prizewinners” post

*Note that the IMPAC considers books a year after the other awards do, and so this year’s IMPAC shortlist nods added to point totals from last year in the case of three books.

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8 Responses to “The Prizewinners 2008/2009”

  1. Arna
    at 12:36 pm on June 15, 2009

    Did you guys see this? (authors choose literary character they'd most like to spend a day at the beach with, from the washington post) I thought you might like it for the curiosities or something.

  2. Anonymous
    at 1:23 pm on June 15, 2009

    Would you folk consider using a different color for the prizes awarded? The bold font on the B, C, I, etc. don't really show up as well as you may have intended…

  3. Max
    at 1:30 pm on June 15, 2009

    Thanks for the suggestion, Anonymous. Maybe not this time, but when we do a new update next year, we'll look at adding that.

  4. Little Miss Nomad
    at 11:40 pm on June 15, 2009

    Where's The God of Small Things?

  5. Dave
    at 3:33 pm on June 16, 2009

    I thought you might be interested in this site – a good way of keeping up with the prize winners:

  6. Anonymous
    at 10:01 am on June 17, 2009

    I think there is a mistake with Gilead. B and P?

  7. Max
    at 10:06 am on June 17, 2009

    Thanks anonymous… Fixed now: C, P

  8. Anonymous
    at 1:18 pm on June 17, 2009

    No problem. Just doing what the anonymous do…

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