It’s an honor just to be nominated

It’s an honor just to be nominated

How do you pick what books to read?

Recommendations from people you know are certainly influential.  Reviews and talk show appearances also clearly help.

However, some people go by which books win awards.  Winning an award suggests that the book has been held to a higher standard.  It has, by definition, competed with other books and been judged superior.

While everybody knows the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys, how many people can name a literary award?  Actually, I would hope that most readers could name some awards, but there are certainly a lot of them out there.  It might help if the awards were on television and Joan Rivers was at the red carpet.  Um, never mind…have you seen the way some authors dress?  😉  Just kidding, but writing is by its nature more of a solitary thing.  Authors are not always the most “get out there and be photographed” crowd…er, set of individuals.

So, although you aren’t likely to see a literary awards show on E!, they can be a good guide for you.  If nothing else, the genre awards help you recognize books of a particular type.

Some readers are completists: they want to start at the beginning of a list and go straight through it.  We love series!  Hey, I read all 181 Doc Savage adventures in order (well, the order they were released in the Bantam paperbacks, anyway).   If you want to read science fiction, you could do worse than reading all of the Hugo novel winners.  Same thing goes for mystery: reading all of the Edgar winners could be a good way to go.

The other factor for EBR (E-Book Reader) users, of course, is whether or not those award winners are available (and available for their devices).  What I’m going to do here is list some of the awards, and a few of the books that have been Kindleized.

Nobel Prize in Literature

Focus: “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”

Awarded since: 1901

Award process: by committee

Website: The Nobel Prize in Literature

List of winners: Nobel Laureates

This is one of the most prestigious awards, but it’s also a bit odd.  The award isn’t for a specific work, necessarily: the book doesn’t win the award, the author does.   Some years, they haven’t awarded it at all…you aren’t necessarily the best in the year, they have to decide you deserve it.  Being a Swedish award, it tends to be more international in scope than many awards.   Yes, people who write in English win some times, and you’ve certainly heard of some of the names (Toni Morrison, Rudyard Kipling, Saul Bellow).

Selected Nobel Laureates for the Kindle

William Butler Yeats  (1923)

Ernest Hemingway (1954)

Doris Lessing (2007)

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction

Focus: “…the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year.”

Awarded since: 1969


Any full-length novel, written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland and published this year, is eligible for the prize. The novel must be an original work in English (not a translation) and must not be self-published.

 Award process: by committee

Website: The Man Booker Prize 

Lists of winners:

Man Booker Prize archive

Man Booker crib sheet  (pdf) (includes shortlisted titles and lists of judges)

 This one has the limitation of “the Commonwealth” and the Republic of Ireland.  Winners have come from the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa, India, Nigeria, Ireland, and so on.  Since 2005, there has been a separate, international award.

Winning the Booker Prize has a real impact on sales:.  Being shortlisted is another positive for authors.

Selected Booker Prize winners

Wolf Hall (2009)

The Inheritance of Loss (2006)

Life of Pi (2002)

 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 

Focus: “…distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life…”

Awarded since: 1948 (novel was 1917-1947)


The Pulitzer Prizes

Lists of winners:

Past winners and finalists by category 

This was formerly called the Pulitzer Prize for Novel, and is one of several Pulitzer Prizes for writing.  

Selected Pulitzer Prize winners:

The Shipping News (1994)

A Confederacy of Dunces (1981)

The Age of Innocence  (1921 – novel)

Genre Awards

Children’s Literature


Awarded since: 1922


Newbery Medal Home Page

List of winners:

Newbery Medal Winners 

Selected Newbery Winners:

Jacob Have I Love  (1981)

Bridge to Terabithia (1978)

A Wrinkle in Time (1963)


The Edgars

Officially, these are the Edgar Allan Poe Awards, given by the Mystery Writers of America…but even they call them The Edgars

Awarded since: 1946

Website: The 

List of winners: Edgars Database

Selected Edgar Novel winners:

Blue Heaven  (2009)

California Girl  (2005)

Dance Hall of the Dead  (1974)

Science Fiction/Fantasy

The Hugos

These are named after Hugo Gernsbeck, and have a number of categories.

Awarded since: 1955

Website: The Hugo Awards 

List of winners: Hugo Award History 

Selected Hugo novel winners:

The Graveyard Book  (2009)

A Fire Upon the Deep (1993)

They’d Rather Be Right  (1955)

The Nebulas

Given by the Science Fiction Writers of America in several categories.

Awarded since:

Website: The Nebula Awards 

List of winners: Nebula Awards winners 

Selected Nebula novel winners:

Paladin of Souls (2004)

Tehanu (1990)

The Dispossessed (1974)


The RITA Awards

Given by the Romance Writers of America, and are a continuation of the Golden Medallion.

Awarded since: 1982 (Golden Medallion)

Website: RITA Awards 

List of winners:

RITA Awards: Past Winners 

Selected RITA winners:

Not Another Bad Date (2009)

Bet Me (2005)

Dream a Little Dream (1999)

Well, those are just a few of the big ones.  There are many book awards, in all sorts of categories.  For example, there is the Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year. There is even an award for e-books that goes all the way back to 2000, called the Epic Award  (or the Eppies for short). 

If you’ve read your way through any of the awards (all of the Hugo novels, anyone?), let me know.  I’d be curious to hear about it.  That’s something I’ve never done.

Reminder: the Kindle DX international has started shipping…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

4 Responses to “It’s an honor just to be nominated”

  1. Er Episodes Says:

    Thank you for the really informative site

  2. Sarai Measheaw Says:

    Could I take on part of your current article to my blogs

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thank you for writing, Sarai!

      I really appreciate you asking for permission!

      I tried to send you e-mail about it, but the e-mail address on your post didn’t work. Could you please leave another comment and update the address? Thanks!

  3. Special offer: get one of 25 award-winning books for $1 « I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] For more information on literary prizes, see this earlier post. […]

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