A Vase of Wildflowers

I'm a writer because I have stage fright.

You Know, They Won That Award? Major Literary Awards 101

When you look at a cover of a book and you’ve seen that your favorite author has won the Nobel Prize or the Pulitzer Prize then you might assume that’s good. You may also know a bit about the prizes themselves, or have a vague notion of how incredibly difficult it is to win one. But for each prize there is a history, a set of rules for eligibility, and a bit of mystery.

To understand the accomplishments achieved by your favorite writers is another way to support them. They’ve worked hard for that accolade and were recognized for it by people that love literature. It is also a way to appreciate the people who generously bestow the awards by devoting their time and money to the best of the craft.

For me, it was always the Nobel and Pulitzer prize winners that inspired me to keep writing. I hoped to follow in their footsteps. As an adult, I realize how monumental these goals are. Still I am inspired by their winners and pray that one day I will join them. It may never happen, I know, but its fun to dream.

So here is my list of major literary awards. It doesn’t include all of the major literary awards out there, I know. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments and the links to their history.


Nobel Prize

Pulitzer Prize

Franz Kafka Prize

The Man Booker Prize

Neustadt Prize

Golden Wreath

The Best American Series

The Bancroft Prizes

Ambassador Book Awards

Arts and Letters Awards in Literature

American Book Awards

The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes

Edgar Awards

Hugo Awards

St. Francis College Literary Prize

Hopwood Awards

The PEN/Faulkner

The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories

Pushcart Prize

Frost Medal

Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction

Stone Literary Award

National Book Award

The National Book Critics Circle Award

Newberry Medal


Additional Awards from the college I attended:

Katherine B. Rondthaler Awards

President’s Prizes

The Penelope Niven Award for Creative Writing

The Lucy Bramlette Patterson Award for Creative Writing

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