Congrats to 2017 First Novel Prize Winner 

Julie Lekstrom Himes for Mikhail and Margarita


Julie Lekstrom Himes was awarded the Center for Fiction's 2017 First Novel Prize for her debut novel, Mikhail and Margarita (Europa Editions). Last year's winner, Kia Corthron (The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter), presented the award to her at our Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner on Tuesday, December 5th at The Metropolitan Club. 

This annual award was created in 2006 to honor the best first novel of the year. Debut novels published between January 1 and December 31, 2017 were eligible for this year's prize. The winner received a $10,000 prize with each shortlisted author receiving $1,000. Find out more about this our short list here. This year's judges were: Sonya Chung, Anne Landsman, Fiona Maazel, Rick Moody, and Kia Corthron. 


Newsweek called Mikhail and Margarita “an incredibly important read in an era of uncertainty and populism across the globe, but it’s also entertainment in its purest form as it draws the reader in through the emotional resonance of love and loss while retaining a sense of ‘it could happen to you.’” read more about our 2017 winner

Now Accepting Entries for the 2018 First Novel Prize


The Center for Fiction is pleased to announce that submissions are now being accepted for our thirteenth annual First Novel Prize. This annual award was created in 2006 to honor the best first novel of the year. In years past the winner has received a $10,000 prize with each shortlisted author receiving $1,000. The shortlist for the award will be announced in September 2018 and the prize will be given at The Center for Fiction’s Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner held in December this year.


View the submission guidelines


Previous Award Winners


Kia Corthron was our 2016 award recipient for her novel The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter (Seven Stories Press). Previous winners include Marisha Pessl for Special Topics in Calamity Physics (Viking), Junot Díaz for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead/Penguin), Hannah Tinti for The Good Thief (The Dial Press), John Pipkin for Woodsburner (Doubleday/Nan A. Talese), Karl Marlantes for Matterhorn (Atlantic Monthly Press with El León Literary Arts), Bonnie Nadzam for Lamb (Other Press), Ben Fountain for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco/HarperCollins), Margaret Wrinkle for Wash (Atlantic Monthly Press), Tiphanie Yanique for Land of Love and Drowning (Riverhead Books), and Viet Thanh Nguyen for The Sympathizer (Grove Press). For a closer look visit PREVIOUS WINNERS PAGE