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First Novel Prize

2009 First Novel Prize

The Center for Fiction

The Center for Fiction 2009 First Novel Prize (then called the John Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize) was awarded to John Pipkin for his debut novel Woodsburner (Doubleday/Nan A. Talese). Read about Woodsburner below and browse 2009’s shortlisted titles.

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 of the award year are eligible. The winner is announced in December at our Annual Awards Benefit.


  • Woodsburner by John Pipkin (Doubleday/Nan A. Talese)


  • American Rust by Philipp Meyer (Spiegel & Grau)
  • The Cradle by Patrick Somerville (Little, Brown and Co.)
  • Tinkers by Paul Harding (Bellevue Literary Press)
  • The Vagrants by Yiyun Li (Random House)