Who doesn’t like winning accolades for their accomplishment?
Book awards are not only a wonderful honor for an author (and publisher), but for self-published and traditionally published books alike, they can also stir up media attention, tap into new audiences, support promotional efforts, and boost sales. The awards that hold the most value to publishers, retailers and book buyers are often displayed on the copies of the book with a sticker or an award logo printed on the cover.
There are several categories of book awards; some are not so well-known, including awards for self-published books such as The Independent Publishers Book Awards.
And awards for unpublished manuscripts such as The Autumn House Prize for Fiction. Ones in the category of traditionally published books and genre-specific books may be more familiar.
Book awards can be used as a tool to help you pick your next read. For instance if you like a certain genre, you can look at the list of past winners of that award and you will have a reading list at hand! Similarly if you find that the author of the book you have read, and like, is an award winner, you can check to see who else has won that award and get your next author to enjoy.
Nominated titles in the categories, and not just winners, can also be a great list to pick your reads from.
Here are a couple of awards in the traditionally published books category:
The National Book Awards were established in 1950 to celebrate the best writing in America. Since 1989, they have been overseen by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture. Although other categories have been recognized in the past, the Awards currently honors the best Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature published each year.
A panel of judges selects a Longlist of ten titles per category, which is then narrowed to five Finalists, and a Winner is announced at the Awards Ceremony in the fall. Each Finalist receives a prize of $1,000, a medal, and a Judge’s citation. Winners receive $10,000 and a bronze sculpture. The Awards Ceremony is one of the most anticipated events for writers, publishers, and readers eager to celebrate the best books of the year.
Some past fiction winners include :
- Fortune Smiles: Stories by Adam Johnson
- The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
- Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
- Redeployment by Phil Kay
- Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
Some past nonfiction winners:
- Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
- The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
The leading literary award in the English speaking world, which has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding fiction for over 50 years. It is awarded annually to the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK or Ireland, with the winner receiving £50,000. Being included on the longlist for this prize is a distinct honor as well, drawing international attention. There is also an International Booker Prize awarded annually for a single book, translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland. The vital work of translators is celebrated, with the prize money divided equally between the author and translator.
Few past winners include:
- A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
- Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
- The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
- The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
- The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
There are also Genre-specific awards such as the Bram Stoker Award for Horror. They are presented by the Horror Writers Association across categories such as Young Adult, First Novel, Anthology, and more for “superior achievement” in dark fantasy and horror writing.
Past winners include:
- The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
- The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
The prestigious Hugo Awards are based around a system of nominations and votes from the World Science Fiction Society, and are annually awarded to works of science fiction and fantasy.
Couple of winning titles:
- The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut novel by Mary Robinette Kowal
- The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu ; translated by Ken Liu
The prestigious Edgar Awards are presented by The Mystery Writers of America annually to celebrate mystery books. Named in honor of Edgar Allen Poe, they have multiple subgenres such as short stories, young adult, true crime, and more.
Previous winners include:
- Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin
- The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
Which award winning book will entice you next?
-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian