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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 and each shortlisted author receives $1,000.

This year’s First Novel Prize will be given to a debut novel published in the United States between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. The longlist was announced in July and the shortlist was announced in September. The shortlisted authors were celebrated at our First Novel Fête on December 2, 2022 and the winner will be announced at our Annual Awards Benefit on December 6, 2022. We are very excited for this opportunity to continue supporting and encouraging the art of fiction in the United States.

Questions about the First Novel Prize?

2021 Winner: Kirstin Valdez Quade

Kirstin Valdez Quade received The Center for Fiction 2021 First Novel Prize for The Five Wounds (W. W. Norton & Company). Our 2020 winner, Raven Leilani, presented the award to Quade on December 7, 2021 at our Annual Awards Benefit and 200th Anniversary Celebration hosted by Fran Lebowitz.

2020 Winner: Raven Leilani

Raven Leilani received The Center for Fiction 2020 First Novel Prize for Luster (Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan). Our 2019 winner, De’Shawn Charles Winslow, presented the award to Leilani on December 3, 2020 at our virtual Annual Awards Benefit hosted by Yvonne Orji.

2019 Winner: De'Shawn Charles Winslow

De’Shawn Charles Winslow received The Center for Fiction 2019 First Novel Prize for In West Mills (Bloomsbury). Monique Truong presented the award to Winslow on December 10, 2020 at our Annual Awards Benefit hosted by Eisa Davis.

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

The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize medallions are available for the covers of winning, shortlisted, and longlisted titles. Questions? Please contact Celeste Kaufman at celeste@centerforfiction.org for more information.