Finalists have been announced since 1980.


2015 Anthony Doerr All the Light We Cannot See

An imaginative and intricate novel inspired by the horrors of World War II and written in short, elegant chapters that explore human nature and the contradictory power of technology.

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2014 Donna Tartt The Goldfinch

A beautifully written coming-of-age novel with exquisitely drawn characters that follows a grieving boy’s entanglement with a small famous painting that has eluded destruction, a book that stimulates the mind and touches the heart.

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2013 Adam Johnson The Orphan Master's Son

An exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.

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2012 No award

No award

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2011 Jennifer Egan A Visit from the Goon Squad

An inventive investigation of growing up and growing old in the digital age, displaying a big-hearted curiosity about cultural change at warp speed.

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2010 Paul Harding Tinkers

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.

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2009 Elizabeth Strout Olive Kitteridge

A collection of 13 short stories set in small-town Maine that packs a cumulative emotional wallop, bound together by polished prose and by Olive, the title character, blunt, flawed and fascinating.

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2008 Junot Diaz The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
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2007 Cormac McCarthy The Road
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2006 Geraldine Brooks March
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2005 Marilynne Robinson Gilead
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2004 Edward P. Jones The Known World
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2003 Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex
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2002 Richard Russo Empire Falls
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2001 Michael Chabon The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
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2000 Jhumpa Lahiri Interpreter of Maladies
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1999 Michael Cunningham The Hours
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1998 Philip Roth American Pastoral
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1997 Steven Millhauser Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
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1996 Richard Ford Independence Day
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1995 Carol Shields The Stone Diaries
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1994 E. Annie Proulx The Shipping News
1993 Robert Olen Butler A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
1992 Jane Smiley A Thousand Acres
1991 John Updike Rabbit At Rest
1990 Oscar Hijuelos The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
1989 Anne Tyler Breathing Lessons
1988 Toni Morrison Beloved
1987 Peter Taylor A Summons to Memphis
1986 Larry McMurtry Lonesome Dove
1985 Alison Lurie Foreign Affairs
1984 William Kennedy Ironweed
1983 Alice Walker The Color Purple
1982 John Updike Rabbit Is Rich
1981 A Confederacy of Dunces by the late John Kennedy Toole (a posthumous publication) (Louisiana State U. Press)
1980 Norman Mailer The Executioner's Song
1979 John Cheever The Stories of John Cheever
1978 James Alan McPherson Elbow Room
1977 (No Award)
1976 Saul Bellow Humboldt's Gift
1975 Michael Shaara The Killer Angels
1974 (No Award)
1973 Eudora Welty The Optimist's Daughter
1972 Wallace Stegner Angle of Repose
1971 (No Award)
1970 Jean Stafford Collected Stories
1969 N. Scott Momaday House Made of Dawn
1968 William Styron The Confessions of Nat Turner
1967 Bernard Malamud The Fixer
1966 Katherine Anne Porter Collected Stories
1965 Shirley Ann Grau The Keepers Of The House
1964 (No Award)
1963 William Faulkner The Reivers
1962 Edwin O'Connor The Edge of Sadness
1961 Harper Lee To Kill A Mockingbird
1960 Allen Drury Advise and Consent
1959 Robert Lewis Taylor The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
1958 A Death In The Family by the late James Agee (a posthumous publication) (McDowell, Obolensky)
1957 (No Award)
1956 MacKinlay Kantor Andersonville
1955 William Faulkner A Fable
1954 (No Award)
1953 Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea
1952 Herman Wouk The Caine Mutiny
1951 Conrad Richter The Town
1950 A. B. Guthrie The Way West
1949 James Gould Cozzens Guard of Honor
1948 James A. Michener Tales of the South Pacific


2015 Richard Ford Let Me Be Frank With You

An unflinching series of narratives, set in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, insightfully portraying a society in decline.

2015 Laila Lalami The Moor's Account

A creative narrative of the ill-fated 16th Century Spanish expedition to Florida, compassionately imagined out of the gaps and silences of history.

2015 Joyce Carol Oates Lovely, Dark, Deep

A rich collection of stories told from many rungs of the social ladder and distinguished by their intelligence, language and technique.

2014 Philipp Meyer The Son

A sweeping multi-generational novel that illuminates the violence and enterprise of the American West by tracing a Texas family’s passage from lethal frontier perils to immense oil-boom wealth.

2014 Bob Shacochis The Woman Who Lost Her Soul

A novel spanning 50 years and three continents that explores the murky world of American foreign policy before 9/11, using provocative themes to raise difficult moral questions.

2013 Nathan Englander What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

A diverse yet consistently masterful collection of stories that explore Jewish identity and questions of modern life in ways that can both delight and unsettle the reader.

2013 Eowyn Ivey The Snow Child

An enchanting novel about an older homesteading couple who long for a child amid the hard wilderness of Alaska and a feral girl who emerges from the woods to bring them hope.

2012 Denis Johnson Train Dreams

A novella about a day laborer in the old American West, bearing witness to terrors and glories with compassionate, heartbreaking calm.

2012 Karen Russell Swamplandia!

An adventure tale about an eccentric family adrift in its failing alligator-wrestling theme park, told by a 13-year-old heroine wise beyond her years.

2012 The Pale King, by the late David Foster Wallace

A posthumously completed novel, animated by grand ambition, that explores boredom and bureaucracy in the American workplace.

2011 Jonathan Dee The Privileges

A contemporary, wide ranging tale about an elite Manhattan family, moral bankruptcy and the long reach of wealth.

2011 Chang-rae Lee The Surrendered

A haunting and often heartbreaking epic whose characters explore the deep reverberations of love, devotion and war.

2010 Lydia Millet Love in Infant Monkeys

An imaginative collection of linked stories, often describing a memorable encounter between a famous person and an animal, underscoring the human folly of longing for significance while chasing trifles.

2010 Daniyal Mueenuddin In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

A collection of beautifully crafted stories that exposes the Western reader to the hopes, dreams and dramas of an array of characters in feudal Pakistan, resulting in both an aesthetic and cultural achievement.

2009 Louise Erdrich The Plague of Doves

A haunting novel that explores racial discord, loss of land and changing fortunes in a corner of North Dakota where Native Americans and whites share a tangled history.

2009 Christine Schutt All Souls

A memorable novel that focuses on the senior class at an exclusive all-girl Manhattan prep school where a beloved student battles a rare cancer, fiercely honest, carefully observed and subtly rendered.

2008 Denis Johnson Tree of Smoke
2008 Lore Segal Shakespeare’s Kitchen
2007 Alice McDermott After This
2007 Richard Powers The Echo Maker
2006 E.L. Doctorow The March
2006 Lee Martin The Bright Forever
2005 Ha Jin War Trash
2005 Ward Just An Unfinished Season
2004 Susan Choi American Woman
2004 Marianne Wiggins Evidence of Things Unseen
2003 Andrea Barrett Servants of the Map: Stories
2003 Adam Haslett You Are Not a Stranger Here
2002 Jonathan Franzen The Corrections
2002 Colson Whitehead John Henry Days
2001 Joyce Carol Oates Blonde
2001 Joy Williams The Quick and the Dead
2000 Annie Proulx Close Range: Wyoming Stories
2000 Ha Jin Waiting
1999 Russell Banks Cloudsplitter
1999 Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible
1998 Don DeLillo Underworld
1998 Robert Stone Bear and His Daughter: Stories
1997 Ursula K. LeGuin Unlocking the Air and Other Stories
1997 Joanna Scott The Manikin
1996 Oscar Hijuelos Mr. Ives' Christmas
1996 Philip Roth Sabbath's Theater
1995 Joyce Carol Oates What I Lived For
1995 Grace Paley The Collected Stories
1994 Reynolds Price The Collected Stories
1994 Philip Roth Operation Shylock: A Confession
1993 Alice McDermott At Weddings and Wakes
1993 Joyce Carol Oates Black Water
1992 Don DeLillo Mao II
1992 David Gates Jernigan
1992 Robert M. Pirsig Lila: An Inquiry into Morals
1991 Linda Hogan Mean Spirit
1991 Tim O'Brien The Things They Carried
1990 E.L. Doctorow Billy Bathgate
1989 Where I'm Calling From by the late Raymond Carver (Atlantic Monthly)
1988 Diane Johnson Persian Nights
1988 Alice McDermott That Night
1987 Donald Barthelme Paradise
1987 Norman Rush Whites
1986 Russell Banks Continental Drift
1986 Anne Tyler The Accidental Tourist
1985 Diana O'Hehir I Wish This War Were Over
1985 Douglas Unger Leaving the Land
1984 Thomas Berger The Feud
1984 Raymond Carver Cathedral
1983 Rabbis and Wives by the late Chaim Grade (Knopf)
1983 Anne Tyler Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant
1982 Marilynne Robinson Housekeeping
1982 Robert Stone A Flag for Sunrise
1981 Frederick Buechner Godric
1981 William Maxwell So Long, See You Tomorrow
1980 Philip Roth The Ghost Writer
1980 William Wharton Birdy