Once in a while you find a book that truly captivates, that moves you in a unique way — and then you find out the rest of the world feels the same. These hidden gems deserve the spotlight, and that kind of recognition is given to them through various awards from the literary sphere. Here are a few award-winning titles you might want to try diving into. Current winners are in bold.
The Pulitzer Prize recognizes excellence in journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. Established in 1917, the Prize is awarded annually across 21 categories, which includes Fiction, Drama, Poetry, various types of Reporting, Photography, and more.
Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson (History, 2017)
The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar (Biography, 2017)
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan (Biography, 2016)
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I. Kertzer (Biography, 2015)
Olio by Tyehimba Jess (Poetry, 2017)
Man Booker Prize and Man Booker International Prize
First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize recognizes the best original novel written in English and published in the UK. It was previously only awarded to writers from the Commonwealth, Ireland, and Zimbabwe until 2014, when it was opened to all nationalities.
The Man Booker International Prize, given every two years, was first awarded in 2005 to an author of any nationality for a body of work published in English or is available in English translation. However, in 2016, the Booker Prize Foundation decided to award the Man Booker International Prize annually to a single book in English translation, with the Prize shared equally between the author and the translator. The first book awarded following this change is The Vegetarian by Han Kang.
This year’s Man Booker Prize Longlist will be announced on July 27, 2017, while the winner of the Man Booker International Prize will be announced on June 14, 2017.
The Sellout by Paul Beatty (Man Booker Prize 2016)
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Man Booker Prize 2015)
The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith (Man Booker International Prize 2016)
The Hugo Awards, named after the founder of the sci-fi magazine Amazing Stories Hugo GErnsback, is given annually to the best works and achievements in science fiction or fantasy. The Hugos were first presented at the 11th World Science Fiction Convention in 1953, and continue to be presented at the Worldcon since 1955. There are currently 16 categories awarded which recognizes the best of science fiction and fantasy created by both professionals and fans.
This year’s Hugo Award winners will be announced on August 11, 2017, at the 75th Worldcon in Helsinki, Finland.
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Shortlisted for Best Novel, 2017)
Death’s End by Cixin Liu (Shortlisted for Best Novel, 2017)
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin (Shortlisted for Best Novel, 2017)
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (Shortlisted for Best Novel, 2017)
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Best Novel, 2016)
The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Best Novel, 2015)
Organized and awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Nebula Award is given to the best of science fiction and fantasy published in the United States. There are four categories, namely Best Novel (40,000 words or more), Best Novella (17,500-40,000 words), Novelette (7,500-17,500 words), and Short Story (less than 7,500 words). Other awards are also presented during the Nebula Awards Weekend, including the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book.
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Best Novel, 2016)
Arrival based on the short story by Ted Chiang (Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, 2016)
Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine (Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2016)
Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Best Novel, 2015)
The American Library Association has many divisions that recognizes excellence in children’s and young adult literature. The awards below are just a few of the ones they present each year.
The Association for Library Service to Children awards the John Newbery Medal annually to the author of the best of American literature for children. First presented in 1921, it is considered the first children’s book award in the world.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (2017)
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña (2016)
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (2015)
If the Newbery Medal recognizes authors, the Caldecott Medal is awarded to the illustrator of the best American picture book and is also awarded annually. The Caldecott and Newbery Medals are considered the most prestigious awards for American children’s literature.
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe (2017)
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear illustrated by Sophie Blackall, written by Lindsay Mattick (2016)
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend written and illustrated by Dan Santat (2015)
Michael L. Printz Award
The Michael L. Printz Award recognizes excellent young adult literature. This year’s winner is an autobiographical graphic novel set during the Civil Rights Movement. It is also the third book in a trilogy.
March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (2017)
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (2016)
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (2015)