Skip to content

The 2023 Book Awards Roundup

Who Won This Year's Biggest Literary Prizes?

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • December 21, 2023

As the year draws to a close, we enjoy putting together a roundup of some of the recipients of literature's most distinguished awards and honors. Read on to get acquainted with 2023's celebrated books.

The Pulitzer Prize

Since 1917, this award  has gone to outstanding work in the areas of journalism, literature, and music. This year's winning books include:


Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
A brilliant retelling of David Copperfield narrated by a 90s-era Appalachian boy whose resilience, intelligence, and humor help him survive the difficulties of poverty, trauma, and addiction.

Trust by Hernan Diaz
This riveting historical novel comprises a set of enmeshed narratives exploring issues of family, wealth, and ambition. At once an immersive story and a brilliant literary puzzle.


Freedom's Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance by Jefferson Cowie
With a focus on a quintessentially American place—Barbour County, Alabama, the ancestral home of political firebrand George Wallace—this riveting history explores the long-running clash between white people and federal authority.


G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage
As FBI director from 1924 through his death in 1972, Hoover served eight U.S. presidents, four Republicans and four Democrats. A deeply researched and nuanced look at the life of one of the most polarizing figures in U.S. history.


Stay True by Hua Hsu
A poignant, bracing coming-of-age account that explores the nature of intense, youthful friendships and the search for meaning and belonging in a senseless, fragmented world.


Then the War: And Selected Poems, 2007–2020 by Carl Phillips
The poet has described his work as an ongoing quest of self-discovery. This volume is the next step in his luminous process of exploration in a landscape of his own making: a forest of intimacy, queerness, and moral inquiry.

General Nonfiction

His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa
An intimate, riveting portrait of the ordinary, imperfect man whose fatal encounter with police officers sparked an international movement for social change.

National Book Award

This prestigious prize recognizes an outstanding work of literary fiction by a U.S. citizen.


Blackouts by Justin Torres
Out in the desert in a place called the Palace, a young man tends to a dying soul, someone who has haunted the edges of his life. This is a book about storytelling—its legacies, dangers, delights, and potential for change.


The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History by Ned Blackhawk
A retelling of U.S. history that acknowledges the enduring power, agency, and survival of Indigenous peoples, yielding a truer account of the United States and revealing anew the varied meanings of America.


from unincorporated territory [åmot] by Craig Santos Pérez
This collection is the fifth in a series focused on the history and culture of the poet's homeland, the western Pacific island of Gu han (Guam) and his Indigenous Chamoru people. The poems explore themes of colonialism and injustice.

Translated Literature

The Words That Remain by Stênio Gardel, translated by Bruna Dantas Lobato
Exploring Brazil's little-known hinterland as well its urban haunts, this sweeping novel explores themes of repression and shame, along with resilience and the ultimate triumph of an unforgettable figure on society's margins.

Young People's Literature

A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat
A feel-good coming-of-age graphic memoir based on the author's awkward middle school years and a life-changing trip to Europe. It celebrates a time that is universally challenging for many, but transformational at the same time.

Booker Prize

Awarded for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the U.K.

Prophet Song by Paul Lynch
A dystopian vision of an Ireland that is falling apart, caught in the grip of a government turning toward tyranny. Eilish Stack is a Dublin scientist and mother of four who must decide how far she will go to save her family.

International Booker Prize

Awarded for an international book translated to English for publication in the U.K.

Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov, tr. from Bulgarian by Angela Rodel
In a clinic for sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, this novel's unnamed narrator collects items from the past as part of the inspired treatment of recreating patients' fading memories.

National Book Critics Circle Award

Given annually to honor outstanding writing and to foster a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature.

Bliss Montage by Ling Ma
What happens when fantasy tears the screen of the everyday to wake us up? Could that waking be our end? This collection offers eight wildly different tales of people caught between delusion and reality.

Kirkus Prize

Chosen from books that earned the Kirkus Star from Kirkus Reviews.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride
In 1972, workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, found a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there sets the stage for this powerful saga about small-town secrets and the people who keep them.

Women's Prize for Fiction

Awarded to a female author of any nationality for the best original full-length novel written in English and published in the United States.

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
See description above in Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Pen/Faulkner Award

Awarded to the author of the year's best work of fiction by a living American citizen.

The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li
A magnificent, beguiling tale winding from the postwar rural provinces to Paris, from an English boarding school to the quiet Pennsylvania home where a woman can live without her past,

Edgar Award

Presented by the Mystery Writers of America, honoring the best in crime and mystery fiction.

Best Novel

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka
Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours. He awaits execution, the same chilling fate he forced on those girls, years ago. Through a kaleidoscope of women—a mother, a sister, a homicide detective—we learn the story of his life.

Best First Novel

Don't Know Tough by Eli Cranor
Friday Night Lights meets Southern Gothic in this powerful noir about a small-town football team whose fate rests on the shoulders of star running back Billy Lowe. Volatile and angry, Billy is dealing with more than football.  

Nebula Award

Given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for the best science fiction or fantasy novel.

Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution by R. F. Kuang
In an alternate 1800s England, Robin is an orphan adopted from China and raised by a British professor. When serving the Empire means betraying his motherland, he must decide where his allegiances lie.

Hugo Award

Awarded for the best science fiction or fantasy story of 40,000 words or more published in English or translated in the prior calendar year.


Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
This isn't the kind of fairy tale where the princess marries a prince. It's the one where she kills him. Princess Marra, the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter, embarks on an enchanted quest to save her sister from her abusive royal husband.

Bram Stoker Award

Presented by the Horror Writers Association for superior achievement in horror writing for novels.

The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias
Buried in debt due to his young daughter's illness, his marriage on the brink, Mario reluctantly takes a job as a hitman, surprising himself with his proclivity for violence. This genre-defying thriller also won the Shirley Jackson Award.

Newbery Medal

Awarded for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature.

Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson
After fleeing the plantation where they were enslaved, siblings Ada and Homer discover the secret community of Freewater, and work with freeborn Sanzi to protect their new home from the encroaching dangers of the outside world.

Caldecott Medal

Awarded for the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Hot Dog by Doug Salati
Tired of the city’s sizzling sidewalks, wailing sirens and people’s feet in his face, a hot dog finds inner peace and calm when his owner takes him to the beach, where he happily cools off. 

Coretta Scott King Book Award

Recognizes African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults.

Author Award

Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson
See description above for the Newbery Medal

Illustrator Award

Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Modern Retelling of the Classic Spiritual illustrated by Frank Morrison; written by Carole Boston Weatherford
Based on the popular spiritual, this inspiring picture book starts in 1619 and spans more than 400 years, chronicling pivotal moments in African American history as well as celebrating those individuals who made a lasting impact.

Michael L. Printz Award

For excellence in literature written for young adults.

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
When his attempts to save his family’s motel spiral out of control, Salahudin and his best friend Noor, two outcasts in their town, must decide what their friendship is worth and how they can defeat the monsters of their past and in their midst.

Schneider Family Book Award

For books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.

Young Children's Award

Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion by Shannon Stocker; illustrated by Devon Holzwarth
This inspiring biography tells the story of musically gifted Evelyn Glennie, who lost her hearing as a young girl and was told she could never be a musician until she proved everyone wrong by listening in a way others didn’t.

Middle Grades Award

Wildoak by C. C. Harrington; illustrated by Diana Sudyka
Agreeing to spend a few weeks in the fresh air of Wildoak Forest, visiting a grandfather she hardly knows, Maggie encounters an abandoned snow leopard cub, and facing danger head on, vows to keep it safe from those who hunt it.

Teens Award

The Words We Keep by Erin Stewart
After her sister Alice was found hurting herself, Lily, who has secret compulsions of her own, learns the healing powers of art while working with a new student who was in the same treatment program as her sister.

Pura Belpré Award

Honoring Latino writers and illustrators whose children's and young adult books best portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience. 

Illustration Award

Where Wonder Grows illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia; written by Xelena Gonzalez
When their Grandma invites them to explore her collection of treasures in her special garden, her granddaughters find their imaginations sparked by these objects from nature that each tell a powerful story.

Children's Author Award

Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega; illustrated by Rose Bousamra
Tired of going to the salon to have her curls straightened every weekend, Marlene slowly learns to embrace her natural curly hair with the help of her best friend and favorite aunt.

Young Adult Author Award

Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado
When an urban legend rumored to trap people inside subway tunnels seems to be behind mysterious disappearances in the Bronx, sixteen-year-old Raquel and her friends team up to save their city—and confront a dark episode in its history.

Awards like these help to highlight excellent reads that may otherwise not get the attention they deserve. We hope you have a chance to check out some of the exciting titles from 2023.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to connect with a community of readers like you and get daily book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more.

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

Leave a Comment

Copyright © 2023 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell/Share My Personal Information | Cookie Policy | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured