Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction

Ernest Poole, winner
of the first Pulitzer
for Fiction, in 1918
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction recognizes distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life, published during the preceding calendar year.

It is one of the original Pulitzers. However, no Fiction prize was given in the inaugural awards of 1917; effectively, then, it dates only from  1918. At that time it was called the "Pulitzer Prize for the Novel"; it was re-dubbed "for Fiction" in 1948, allowing for the inclusion of collections of shorter works of fiction. (Adapted from Wikipedia)

Finalists have been announced in the Fiction category since 1980. These are indicated with an "F"; winners in the same years are designated with a "W."

In eleven years, no award was given, despite recommendations having been made in several of them. According to the notes Wikipedia, here's what happened in those years:
  • 1941: The fiction jury had recommended the 1941 award go to Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. Although the Pulitzer Board initially agreed with that judgment, the president of Columbia University, Nicholas Murray Butler, persuaded the board to reverse its judgment because he deemed the novel offensive, and no award was given that year.
  • 1957: The fiction jury had recommended the 1957 award to Elizabeth Spencer's The Voice at the Back Door, but the Pulitzer board, which has sole discretion for awarding the prize, made no award.
  • 1971: The three novels the Pulitzer committee put forth for consideration to the Pulitzer board were: Losing Battles by Eudora Welty; Mr. Sammler's Planet by Saul Bellow; and The Wheel of Love by Joyce Carol Oates. The board rejected all three and opted for no award.
  • 1974: The fiction jury had unanimously recommended the 1974 award to Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, but the Pulitzer board, which has sole discretion for awarding the prize, made no award.
  • 1977: The fiction jury had recommended the 1977 award to Norman MacLean's A River Runs Through It, but the Pulitzer board, which has sole discretion for awarding the prize, made no award. That same year, however, Alex Haley's iconic family saga Roots was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize.
You can read more about some of the more recent winners and finalists at the Pulitzer site.

1917: no award given
1918: His Family (Ernest Poole)
1919: The Magnificent Ambersons (Booth Tarkington)

1920: no award given
1921: The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)
1922: Alice Adams (Booth Tarkington)
1923: One of Ours (Willa Cather)
1924: The Able McLaughlins (Margaret Wilson)
1925: So Big (Edna Ferber)
1926: Arrowsmith (Sinclair Lewis [declined prize])
1927: Early Autumn (Louis Bromfield)
1928: The Bridge of San Luis Rey (Thornton Wilder)
1929: Scarlet Sister Mary (Julia Peterkin)

1930: Laughing Boy (Oliver La Farge)
1931: Years of Grace (Margaret Ayer Barnes)
1932: The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
1933: The Store (Thomas Sigismund Stribling)
1934: Lamb in His Bosom (Caroline Miller)
1935: Now in November (Josephine Winslow Johnson)
1936: Honey in the Horn (Harold L. Davis)
1937: Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
1938: The Late George Apley (John Phillips Marquand)
1939: The Yearling (Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings)

1940: The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
1941: no award given; recommendation of For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway was not accepted
1942: In This Our Life (Ellen Glasgow)
1943: Dragon's Teeth (Upton Sinclair)
1944: Journey in the Dark (Martin Flavin)
1945: A Bell for Adano (John Hersey)
1946: no award given
1947: All the King's Men (Robert Penn Warren)
1948: Tales of the South Pacific (James A. Michener)
1949: Guard of Honor (James Gould Cozzens)

1950: The Way West (A. B. Guthrie, Jr.)
1951: The Town (Conrad Richter)
1952: The Caine Mutiny (Herman Wouk)
1953: The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
1954: no award given
1955: A Fable (William Faulkner)
1956: Andersonville (MacKinlay Kantor)
1957: No award given; recommendation of Elizabeth Spencer's The Voice at the Back Door was not accepted.
1958: A Death in the Family (James Agee [posthumous win])
1959: The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (Robert Lewis Taylor)

1960: Advise and Consent (Allen Drury)
1961: To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
1962: The Edge of Sadness (Edwin O'Connor)
1963: The Reivers (William Faulkner [posthumous win])
1964: No award given
1965: The Keepers of the House (Shirley Ann Grau)
1966: The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (Katherine Anne Porter)
1967: The Fixer (Bernard Malamud)
1968: The Confessions of Nat Turner (William Styron)
1969: House Made of Dawn (N. Scott Momaday)

1970: The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford (Jean Stafford)
1971: No award given; recommendation of three novels was not accepted.
1972: Angle of Repose (Wallace Stegner)
1973: The Optimist's Daughter (Eudora Welty)
1974: No award given; recommendation of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow was not accepted.
1975: The Killer Angels (Michael Shaara)
1976: Humboldt's Gift (Saul Bellow)
1977: No award given; recommendation of A River Runs Through It by Norman MacLean was not accepted. However, a special Pulitzer Prize was given to Alex Haley's Roots.
1978: Elbow Room (James Alan McPherson)
1979: The Stories of John Cheever (John Cheever)

1980: (W) The Executioner's Song (Norman Mailer)
1980: (F) Birdy (William Wharton)
1980: (F) The Ghost Writer (Philip Roth)
1981: (W) A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole [posthumous win])
1981: (F) Godric (Frederick Buechner)
1981: (F) So Long, See You Tomorrow (William Maxwell)
1982: (W) Rabbit Is Rich (John Updike)
1982: (F) Housekeeping (Marilynne Robinson)
1982: (F): A Flag for Sunrise (Robert Stone)
1983: (W) The Color Purple (Alice Walker)
1983: (F) Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (Anne Tyler)
1983: (F) Rabbis and Wives (Chaim Grade)
1984: (W) Ironweed (William Kennedy)
1984: (F) Cathedral (Raymond Carver)
1984: (F) The Feud (Thomas Berger)
1985: (W) Foreign Affairs (Alison Lurie)
1985: (F) I Wish This War Were Over (Diana O'Hehir)
1985: (F) Leaving the Land (Douglas Unger)
1986: (W) Lonesome Dove (Larry McMurtry)
1986: (F) Continental Drift (Russell Banks)
1986: (F) The Accidental Tourist (Anne Tyler)
1987: (W) A Summons to Memphis (Peter Taylor)
1987: (F) Paradise (Donald Barthelme)
1987: (F) Whites (Norman Rush)
1988: (W) Beloved (Toni Morrison)
1988: (F) Persian Nights (Diane Johnson)
1988: (F) That Night (Alice McDermott)
1989: (W) Breathing Lessons (Anne Tyler)
1989: (F) Where I'm Calling From (Raymond Carver)

1990: (W) The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (Oscar Hijuelos)
1990: (F) Billy Bathgate (E. L. Doctorow)
1991: (W) Rabbit at Rest (John Updike)
1991: (F) Mean Spirit (Linda Hogan)
1991: (F) The Things They Carried (Tim O'Brien)
1992: (W) A Thousand Acres (Jane Smiley)
1992: (F) Jernigan (David Gates)
1992: (F) Lila: An Inquiry into Morals (Robert M. Pirsig)
1992: (F) Mao II (Don DeLillo)
1993: (W) A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (Robert Olen Butler)
1993: (F) At Weddings and Wakes (Alice McDermott)
1993: (F) Black Water (Joyce Carol Oates)
1994: (W) The Shipping News (E. Annie Proulx)
1994: (F) Operation Shylock: A Confession (Philip Roth)
1994: (F) The Collected Stories (Reynolds Price)
1995: (W) The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
1995: (F) The Collected Stories (Grace Paley)
1995: (F) What I Lived For (Joyce Carol Oates)
1996: (W) Independence Day (Richard Ford)
1996: (F) Mr. Ives' Christmas (Oscar Hijuelos)
1996: (F) Sabbath's Theater (Philip Roth)
1997: (W) Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer (Steven Millhauser)
1997: (F) The Manikin (Joanna Scott)
1997: (F) Unlocking the Air and Other Stories (Ursula K. Le Guin)
1998: (W) American Pastoral (Philip Roth)
1998: (F) Bear and His Daughter: Stories (Robert Stone)
1998: (F) Underworld (Don DeLillo)
1999: (W) The Hours (Michael Cunningham)
1999: (F) Cloudsplitter (Russell Banks)
1999: (F) The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

2000: (W) Interpreter of Maladies (Jhumpa Lahiri)
2000: (F) Close Range: Wyoming Stories (Annie Proulx)
2000: (F) Waiting (Ha Jin)
2001: (W) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (Michael Chabon)
2001: (F) Blonde (Joyce Carol Oates)
2001: (F) The Quick and the Dead (Joy Williams)
2002: (W) Empire Falls (Richard Russo)
2002: (F) John Henry Days (Colson Whitehead)
2002: (F) The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen)
2003: (W) Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides)
2003: (F) Servants of the Map: Stories (Andrea Barrett)
2003: (F) You Are Not a Stranger Here (Adam Haslett)
2004: (W) The Known World (Edward P. Jones)
2004: (F) American Woman (Susan Choi)
2004: (F) Evidence of Things Unseen (Marianne Wiggins)
2005: (W) Gilead (Marilynne Robinson)
2005: (F) An Unfinished Season (Ward Just)
2005: (F) War Trash (Ha Jin)
2006: (W) March (Geraldine Brooks)
2006: (F) The Bright Forever (Lee Martin)
2006: (F) The March (E. L. Doctorow)
2007: (W) The Road (Cormac McCarthy)
2007: (F) After This (Alice McDermott)
2007: (F) The Echo Maker (Richard Powers)
2008: (W) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Díaz)
2008: (F) Shakespeare's Kitchen (Lore Segal)
2008: (F) Tree of Smoke (Denis Johnson)
2009: (W) Olive Kitteridge (Elizabeth Strout)
2009: (F) All Souls (Christine Schutt)
2009: (F) The Plague of Doves (Louise Erdrich)

2010: (W) Tinkers (Paul Harding)
2010: (F) In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (Daniyal Mueenuddin)
2010: (F) Love in Infant Monkeys (Lydia Millet)
2011: (W) A Visit From the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan)
2011: (F) The Privileges (Jonathan Dee)
2011: (F) The Surrendered (Chang-Rae Lee)
2012: No award given; three finalists were:
2012: (F) Train Dreams (Denis Johnson)
2012: (F) Swamplandia! (Karen Russell)
2012: (F) The Pale King (David Foster Wallace)
2013: (W) The Orphan Master's Son (Adam Johnson)
2013: (F) The Snow Child (Eowyn Ivey)
2013: (F) What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank (Nathan Englander)

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