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First Novel Prize

2015 First Novel Prize

The Center for Fiction

The Center for Fiction 2015 First Novel Prize was awarded to Viet Thanh Nguyen for his debut novel The Sympathizer (Grove Press). Read about The Sympathizer below and browse 2015’s shortlisted and longlisted 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.


  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press)


  • After the Parade by Lori Ostlund (Scribner)
  • Against the Country by Ben Metcalf (Random House)
  • Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam (Penguin Books)
  • The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (Little, Brown)
  • The Turner House by Angela Flournoy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)


  • The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips (Henry Holt & Co.)
  • Black River by S.M. Hulse (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg (Knopf)
  • Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin Press)
  • Find Me by Laura Van Den Berg (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • The First Bad Man by Miranda July (Scribner)
  • Girl at War by Sara Nović (Random House)
  • The Girl from the Garden by Parnaz Forouton (Ecco)
  • Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins (Riverhead Books)
  • The Heart of the Order by Theo Schell-Lambert (Little A)
  • The Hopeful by Tracy O’Neill (Ig Publishing)
  • I’d Walk with My Friends If I Could Find Them by Jesse Goolsby (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Landfalls by Naomi J. Williams (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • The Language of Paradise by Barbara Klein Moss (W.W. Norton)
  • Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Orhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian (Algonquin Books)
  • She Weeps Each Time You’re Born by Quan Barry (Pantheon Books)
  • The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson (Penguin Press)
  • The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein (Bloomsbury)
  • The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella (Simon & Schuster)
  • Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman (Harper)