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The First Novel Prize

The Center for Fiction 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 shortlisted author receiving $1,000. The winner is announced in December at our Annual Awards Benefit.


The submission window for The Center for Fiction 2022 First Novel Prize is now closed. The award will be given to a debut novel published in the United States between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. This year’s longlist will be announced this summer, followed by the shortlist announcement in the fall. The winner is announced in December at our Annual Awards Benefit. We are very excited for this opportunity to continue supporting and encouraging the art of fiction in the United States.

Review the 2022 eligibility requirements, learn about the selection process, and more.


Questions about the First Novel Prize?

Kirstin Valdez Quade Wins The Center for Fiction 2021 First Novel Prize

Congratulations to our 2021 First Novel Prize winner, Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of 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 at Cipriani 25 Broadway. Last year’s winner, Raven Leilani, presented Quade with the award, which carries with it a prize of $15,000.

Raven Leilani Wins the 2020 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

Raven Leilani is the 2020 winner of The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize for Luster (Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan). De’Shawn Charles Winslow presented the award to Leilani on Thursday, December 3rd at our Annual Awards Benefit.