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The First Novel Prize

2021 First Novel Prize

The Center for Fiction 2021 First Novel Prize was awarded to Kirstin Valdez Quade for her debut novel The Five Wounds (W. W. Norton & Company). The award was announced at The Center for Fiction Annual Awards Benefit and 200th Anniversary Celebration on December 7, 2021. 2020 winner, Raven Leilani (Luster), presented Quade with the award, which was selected by a panel of distinguished American writers: Alexander Chee, Susan Choi, Yaa Gyasi, Raven Leilani, and Dinaw Mengestu.

The First Novel Prize, first awarded in 2006, was created to honor the best debut fiction of the year. The winner receives a $15,000 prize, with each of the other shortlisted authors receiving $1,000. Read about The Five Wounds and the shortlisted and longlisted titles from 2021 below.

Read interviews with each of the shortlisted authors and watch dramatic readings of their work from the 2021 First Novel Fête.