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First Novel Prize

2016 First Novel Prize

The Center for Fiction

The Center for Fiction 2016 First Novel Prize was awarded to Kia Corthron for her debut novel The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter (Seven Stories Press). Read about The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter below and browse 2016’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 Castle Cross the Magnet Carter by Kia Corthron (Seven Stories Press)


  • The Girls by Emma Cline (Random House)
  • Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright)
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf)
  • How I Became a North Korean by Krys Lee (Viking)
  • We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge (Algonquin Books)
  • What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)


  • The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones (Mariner Books)
  • All Joe Knight by Kevin Morris (Grove Press)
  • Another Place You’ve Never Been by Rebecca Kauffman (Soft Skull Press)
  • As Close to Us as Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner (Lee Boudreaux Books)
  • Dodgers by Bill Beverly (Crown)
  • Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson (Harper)
  • Hurt People by Cote Smith (FSG Originals)
  • The Lightkeepers by Abby Geni (Counterpoint)
  • The Longest Night by Andria Williams (Random House)
  • The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay (Melville House)
  • The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales (Riverhead Books)
  • Shelter by Jung Yun (Picador USA)
  • Stork Mountain by Miroslav Penkov (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser (Ecco)
  • Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings by Stephen O’Connor (Viking)
  • Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss (Scout Press)
  • Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves (Scribner)
  • Wreck and Order by Hannah Tennant-Moore (Hogarth)