The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. It recognizes distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life, published during the preceding calendar year. As the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel, it was one of the original Pulitzers; the program was inaugurated in 1917 with seven prizes, four of which were awarded that year. (No Novel prize was awarded in 1917; the first was awarded in 1918.)
Finalists have been announced since 1980, ordinarily a total of three.
In 31 years under the "Novel" name, the prize was awarded 27 times; in its first 69 years to 2016 under the "Fiction" name, 62 times. In 11 years, no novel received the award. It has never been shared by two authors. Three writers have won two prizes each in the Fiction category: Booth Tarkington, William Faulkner, and John Updike.
Entries from this point on include the finalists listed after the winner for each year.
Three writers to date have won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction multiple times, one nominally in the novel category and two in the general fiction category. Ernest Hemingway was selected by the 1941 and 1953 juries, but the former was overturned and no 1941 award was given.[a]
[I]n 1941, after both the jury and the board voted to give the fiction prize to Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia and ex-officio chairman of the board, forced the board to change its vote because he found the book offensive.
A Death in the Family is an autobiographical novel by author James Agee, set in Knoxville, Tennessee. He began writing it in 1948, but it was not quite complete when he died in 1955 (with reputedly many portions having been written in the home of his friend Frances Wickes). It was edited and released posthumously in 1957 by editor David McDowell. Agee's widow and children were left with little money after Agee's death and McDowell wanted to help them by publishing the work. Agee won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1958 for the novel. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923.A Summons to Memphis
A Summons to Memphis is a 1986 novel by Peter Taylor which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1987. It is the recollection of Phillip Carver, a middle aged editor from New York City, who is summoned back to Memphis by his two conniving unmarried sisters to help them prevent the marriage of their elderly father to a younger woman.Andersonville (novel)
Andersonville is a novel by MacKinlay Kantor concerning the Confederate prisoner of war camp, Andersonville prison, during the American Civil War (1861–1865). The novel was originally published in 1955, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction the following year.Edward P. Jones
Edward Paul Jones (born October 5, 1950) is an American novelist and short story writer. His 2003 novel The Known World received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.Elbow Room (short story collection)
Elbow Room: Stories is a 1977 short story collection by American author James Alan McPherson. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1978.Foreign Affairs (novel)
Foreign Affairs is a 1984 novel by American writer Alison Lurie, which concerns itself with American academics in England. The novel won multiple awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1985, was nominated for the 1984 National Book Award, and was made into a television movie in 1993.Humboldt's Gift
Humboldt's Gift is a 1975 novel by Canadian-American author Saul Bellow. It won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and contributed to Bellow's winning the Nobel Prize in Literature the same year.Ironweed (novel)
Ironweed is a 1983 novel by William Kennedy. It received the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and is the third book in Kennedy's Albany Cycle. It is included in the Western Canon of the critic Harold Bloom.Less (novel)
Less is a satirical comedy novel by American author Andrew Sean Greer first published in 2017. It follows gay writer Arthur Less while he travels the world on a literary tour, as his fiftieth birthday looms.
The book covers themes such as romantic love, same-sex relationships, aging, and travel. Greer began writing Less as a "very serious novel" but found that "the only way to write about [being gay and aging] is to make it a funny story. And I found that by making fun of myself, I could actually get closer to real emotion – closer to what I wanted in my more serious books."Less won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In reporting the award, the Associated Press accidentally wrote the novel's title as "Fearless." The book also was a New York Times best seller, won the Northern California Book Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction.Rabbit Is Rich
Rabbit Is Rich is a 1981 novel by John Updike. It is the third novel of the four-part series which begins with Rabbit, Run and Rabbit Redux, and concludes with Rabbit At Rest. There is also a related 2001 novella, Rabbit Remembered. Rabbit Is Rich was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction
in 1982, as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in 1981. The first-edition hardcover dust jacket for the novel was designed by the author, and is significantly different from the common horizontal-stripe designs used on the other three Rabbit novels. Later printings, including trade paperbacks, feature the trademark stripe motif with stock images of a set of car keys or an image of a late-1970s Japanese automobile.The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford
The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford is a short story collection by Jean Stafford. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1970.The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter
The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter is a book by Katherine Anne Porter published by Harcourt in 1965, comprising nineteen "short stories and long stories", as Porter herself would say. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.Collected Stories, in addition to four exclusive new stories, contains all stories previously collected in Flowering Judas; Pale Horse, Pale Rider; and The Leaning Tower. In the preface "Go Little Book ...", Porter abjured the word "novella", calling it a "slack, boneless, affected word that we do not need to describe anything." She went on to say "Please call my works by their right names: we have four that cover every division: short stories, long stories, short novels, novels."The Edge of Sadness
The Edge of Sadness is a novel by the American author Edwin O'Connor. It was published in 1961 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1962. The story is about a middle-aged Catholic priest in New England.The Killer Angels
The Killer Angels (1974) is a historical novel by Michael Shaara that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. The book tells the story of the four days of the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War: June 30, 1863, as the troops of both the Union and the Confederacy move into battle around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and July 1, July 2, and July 3, when the battle was fought. The story is character-driven and told from the perspective of various protagonists. A film adaptation of the novel, titled Gettysburg, was released in 1993.The Shipping News
The Shipping News is a novel by American author E. Annie Proulx and published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1993. It won the Pulitzer Prize, the U.S. National Book Award, as well as other awards. It was adapted as a film of the same name which was released in 2001.The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel written by Robert Lewis Taylor, which was later made into a short-running television series on ABC from September 1963 through March 1964, featuring Kurt Russell as Jaimie, Dan O'Herlihy as his father, "Doc" Sardius McPheeters, and Michael Witney and Charles Bronson as the wagon masters, Buck Coulter and Linc Murdock, respectively.The Underground Railroad (novel)
The Underground Railroad, published in 2016, is the sixth novel by American author Colson Whitehead.
The alternate history novel tells the story of Cora and Caesar, two slaves in the southeastern United States during the 19th century, who make a bid for freedom from their Georgia plantations by following the Underground Railroad, which the novel depicts as primarily a rail transport system in addition to a series of safe houses and secret routes.The Underground Railroad was a critical and commercial success, hitting the best seller lists and winning several notable prizes. It won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction, the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. It was longlisted for The 2017 Man Booker Prize.Tinkers (novel)
Tinkers (2009) is the first novel by American author, Paul Harding. The novel tells the stories of George Washington Crosby, an elderly clock repairman, and of his father, Howard. On his deathbed, George remembers his father, who was a tinker selling household goods from a donkey-drawn cart and who struggled with epilepsy. The novel was published by Bellevue Literary Press, a sister organization of the Bellevue Literary Review.
Tinkers won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and other awards and honors. The Pulitzer board called the novel "a powerful celebration of life in which a New England father and son, through suffering and joy, transcend their imprisoning lives and offer new ways of perceiving the world and mortality."
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction