The Prizewinners 2013/2014

July 3, 2014 | 15 books mentioned 5 3 min read

With last month’s awarding of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the 2013/2014 literary award season is now over, which gives us the opportunity to update our list of prizewinners. Literary prizes are, of course, deeply arbitrary in many ways; such is the nature of keeping score in a creative field. Nonetheless, our prizewinners post is compiled in the same spirit that one might tally up Cy Young Awards 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 help secure them places on literature class reading lists for decades to come.

cover2013/14 was a suprisingly diverse year when it comes to literary awards, with no single novel winning multiple awards and very little crossover on the shortlists. Only one book is climbing the ranks this year. Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, which won the Pulitzer and was on the National Book Critics Circle shortlist.

Next year, we will need to make some changes to our methodology. When compiling this list, 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 (formerly the Whitbread) 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. However, now that the Booker Prize will be open to English-language books from all over the world, including the U.S., the panel of awards is now lopsided in favor of the U.S. Is there another British-only award that we can use to replace the Booker next year?

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=winnerred=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 were added to point totals from last year.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.


  1. Too bad the list is up to 1995 only or else Updike’s Rabbit is Rich will surely head straight up the chart as it is still the last American novel to make the complete sweep of the big three American literary prizes (Pulitzer, NBCC and NBA).

  2. There is the new Folio Prize, but I believe it is open to all works in English.

    Have you considered including the Bailey’s Women Prize (formerly the Orange)?

  3. The problem I see with including the Tournament of Books is that the ToB automatically includes certain prizewinners. So winning the Booker Prize (for example) would end up being worth five points (three for the win, two because it gets a bye to the ToB shortlist).

  4. A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing by Eimear MacBride is clearing up in smaller British prizes: it’s won three, plus one Irish prize. Actually the Bailey’s / Orange is hardly a small prize.

    The Bailey’s is open to works first published in the English language, not just to British books, though. We are now short on big UK prizes that don’t also include US books. Although there are plenty of smaller ones which are just for British books.

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