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First Novel Prize

2017 First Novel Prize

The Center for Fiction

The Center for Fiction 2017 First Novel Prize was awarded to Julie Lekstrom Hines for her debut novel Mikhail and Margarita (Europa Editions). Read about Mikhail and Margarita below and browse 2017’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.


  • Mikhail and Margarita by Julie Lekstrom Himes (Europa Editions)


  • As Lie Is to Grin by Simeon Marsalis (Catapult)
  • Empire of Glass by Kaitlin Solimine (Ig Publishing)
  • The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers (Algonquin Books)
  • Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar (Little, Brown)
  • Tiger Pelt by Annabelle Kim (Leaf~Land LLC)
  • What to Do About the Solomons by Bethany Ball (Atlantic Monthly Press)


  • All That’s Left to Tell by Daniel Lowe (Flatiron Books)
  • Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz (Random House)
  • Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Crystal King (Touchstone)
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Random House)
  • The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico (Spiegel & Grau)
  • Marlena by Julie Buntin (Henry Holt & Co.)
  • Motherest by Kristen Iskandrian (Twelve)
  • Murder on the Red River by Marcie R. Rendon (Cinco Puntos Press)
  • My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (Riverhead Books)
  • Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett (Tin House Books)
  • Spoils by Brian Van Reet (Lee Boudreaux Books)
  • Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan (Restless Books)
  • Time’s a Thief by B. G. Firmani (Doubleday)
  • Who Is Rich? by Matthew Klam (Random House)
  • The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Mathews (Little, Brown)