History of categories
The National Book Awards were first awarded to four 1935 publications in May 1936. Contrary to that historical fact, the National Book Foundation currently recognizes only a history of purely literary awards that begins in 1950. The pre-war awards and the 1980 to 1983 graphics awards are covered below following the main list of current award categories.
There have been four award categories since 1996, Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature. The main list below is organized by the current award categories and by year.
The four categories' winners are selected from hundreds of preliminary nominees. For example, in the 2010 cycle the preliminary phase nominees ranged from 148 in the Poetry category to 435 in the Nonfiction category. In the 2013 cycle, the long−list phase nominees totaled 40 in September, 10 finalists for each of the four categories, with the year's 4 winners announced in November.  Lists of five finalists were announced October 16
Current award categories
- For pre-1950 awards in all categories, see 1935 to 1941.
General fiction for adult readers is a National Book Award category that has been continuous since 1950, with multiple awards for a few years beginning 1980. From 1935 to 1941, there were six annual awards for novels or general fiction and the "Bookseller Discovery", the "Most Original Book"; both awards were sometimes given to a novel.
General nonfiction for adult readers is a National Book Award category continuous only from 1984, when the general award was restored after two decades of awards in several nonfiction categories. From 1935 to 1941 there were six annual awards for general nonfiction, two for biography, and the Bookseller Discovery or Most Original Book was sometimes nonfiction.
|1950||William Carlos Williams||Paterson: Book Three and Selected Poems|
|1951||Wallace Stevens||The Auroras of Autumn|
|1952||Marianne Moore||Collected Poems|
|1953||Archibald MacLeish||Collected Poems, 1917-1952|
|1954||Conrad Aiken||Collected Poems|
|1955||Wallace Stevens||The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens|
|1956||W. H. Auden||The Shield of Achilles|
|1957||Richard Wilbur||Things of This World|
|1958||Robert Penn Warren||Promises: Poems, 1954-1956|
|1959||Theodore Roethke||Words for the Wind|
|1960||Robert Lowell||Life Studies|
|1961||Randall Jarrell||The Woman at the Washington Zoo|
|1963||William Stafford||Traveling Through the Dark|
|1964||John Crowe Ransom||Selected Poems|
|1965||Theodore Roethke||The Far Field|
|1966||James Dickey||Buckdancer's Choice|
|1967||James Merrill||Nights and Days|
|1968||Robert Bly||The Light Around the Body|
|1969||John Berryman||His Toy, His Dream, His Rest|
|1970||Elizabeth Bishop||The Complete Poems|
|1971||Mona Van Duyn||To See, To Take|
|1972||Frank O'Hara||The Collected Works of Frank O'Hara|
|[d]||Howard Moss||Selected Poems|
|1973||A. R. Ammons||Collected Poems, 1951-1971|
|1974||Allen Ginsberg||The Fall of America: Poems of these States, 1965-1971|
|[b]||Adrienne Rich||Diving into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972|
|1975||Marilyn Hacker||Presentation Piece|
|1976||John Ashbery||Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror|
|1977||Richard Eberhart||Collected Poems, 1930-1976|
|1978||Howard Nemerov||The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov|
|1979||James Merrill||Mirabell: Book of Numbers|
|1980||Philip Levine||Ashes: Poems New and Old|
|1981||Lisel Mueller||The Need to Hold Still|
|1982||William Bronk||Life Supports: New and Collected Poems|
|1983||Galway Kinnell||Selected Poems|
|[e]||Charles Wright||Country Music: Selected Early Poems|
|Major reorganization in 1984 eliminated the 30-year-old Poetry award along with dozens of younger ones. Poetry alone was restored seven years later.|
|1991||Philip Levine||What Work Is|
|1992||Mary Oliver||New and Selected Poems|
|1993||A. R. Ammons||Garbage|
|1994||James Tate||A Worshipful Company of Fletchers|
|1995||Stanley Kunitz||Passing Through: The Later Poems|
|1996||Hayden Carruth||Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey|
|1997||William Meredith||Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems|
|1998||Gerald Stern||This Time: New and Selected Poems|
|1999||Ai||Vice: New and Selected Poems|
|2000||Lucille Clifton||Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000|
|2001||Alan Dugan||Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry|
|2002||Ruth Stone||In the Next Galaxy|
|2003||C. K. Williams||The Singing|
|2004||Jean Valentine||Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003|
|2005||W. S. Merwin||Migration: New and Selected Poems|
|2006||Nathaniel Mackey||Splay Anthem|
|2007||Robert Hass||Time and Materials: Poems, 1997-2005|
|2008||Mark Doty||Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems|
|2009||Keith Waldrop||Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy|
|2011||Nikky Finney||Head Off & Split|
|2012||David Ferry||Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations|
|2014||Louise Glück||Faithful and Virtuous Night|
|2015||Robin Coste Lewis||Voyage of the Sable Venus.|
|2016||Daniel Borzutzky||The Performance of Becoming Human|
Young People's Literature
- See also the "Children's" award categories, immediately below.
- Children's Literature
- "Children's Books" from 1970 to 1975.
|1969||Meindert DeJong||Journey from Peppermint Street|
|1970||Isaac Bashevis Singer||A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing up in Warsaw|
|1971||Lloyd Alexander||The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian|
|1972||Donald Barthelme||The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine or The Hithering Thithering Djinn|
|1973||Ursula K. Le Guin||The Farthest Shore|
|1974||Eleanor Cameron||The Court of the Stone Children|
|1975||Virginia Hamilton||M. C. Higgins the Great|
|1976||Walter D. Edmonds||Bert Breen's Barn|
|1977||Katherine Paterson||The Master Puppeteer|
|The View From the Oak: The Private Worlds of Other Creatures|
|1979||Katherine Paterson||The Great Gilly Hopkins|
|1980 hard||Joan Blos||A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal|
|1980 pb||Madeleine L'Engle||A Swiftly Tilting Planet|
- Children's Books, Fiction
- "Children's Book, Fiction" in 1981; "Children's Fiction" in 1983.
|1981 hard||Betsy Byars||The Night Swimmers|
|1981 pb||Beverly Cleary||Ramona and Her Mother|
|1982 hard||Lloyd Alexander||Westmark|
|1982 pb||Ouida Sebestyen||Words by Heart|
|1983 hard||Jean Fritz||Homesick: My Own Story|
|1983 pb||Paula Fox||A Place Apart|
|[e]||Joyce Carol Thomas||Marked by Fire|
- Children's Books, Non-fiction
- "Children's Book, Nonfiction" in 1981.
|1981 hard||Alison Cragin Herzig
Jane Lawrence Mali
|Oh, Boy! Babies|
|1982||Susan Bonners||A Penguin Year|
|1983||James Cross Giblin||Chimney Sweeps|
- Children's Books, Picture Books
|1982 hard||Maurice Sendak||Outside Over There|
|1982 pb||Peter Spier||Noah's Ark|
|1983 hard||Barbara Cooney||Miss Rumphius|
|[e]||William Steig||Doctor De Soto|
|1983 pb||Mary Ann Hoberman
Betty Fraser, illustrator
|A House is a House for Me|
Nonfiction subcategories 1964 to 1983
- For early awards in all categories, see 1935 to 1941.
Arts and Letters
- "Arts and Letters (Nonfiction)" in 1964.
|1964||Aileen Ward||John Keats: The Making of a Poet (biog. John Keats)|
|1965||Eleanor Clark||The Oysters of Locmariaquer|
|1966||Janet Flanner||Paris Journal, 1944-1965|
|1967||Justin Kaplan||Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography (biog. Mark Twain)|
|1968||William Troy||Selected Essays|
|1969||Norman Mailer||The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, The Novel as History|
|1970||Lillian Hellman||An Unfinished Woman: A Memoir|
|1971||Francis Steegmuller||Cocteau: A Biography (biog. Cocteau)|
|1972||Charles Rosen||The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven|
|1973||Arthur M. Wilson||Diderot (biog. Denis Diderot)|
|1974||Pauline Kael||Deeper into Movies|
|1975||Roger Shattuck||Marcel Proust (biog. Marcel Proust)|
|[c]||Lewis Thomas||The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher[ii]|
|1976||Paul Fussell||The Great War and Modern Memory|
History and (Auto)biography
History and Biography
- "History and Biography (Nonfiction)" in 1964.
|1964||William H. McNeill||The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community|
|1965||Louis Fischer||The Life of Lenin (biog. Lenin)|
|1966||Arthur Schlesinger||A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House|
|1967||Peter Gay||The Enlightenment, Vol. I: The Rise of Modern Paganism (first of 2 vols)|
|1968||George F. Kennan||Memoirs: 1925-1950 (first of 2 vols)|
|1969||Winthrop D. Jordan||White over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812|
|1970||T. Harry Williams||Huey Long (biog. Huey Long)|
|1971||James MacGregor Burns||Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom (biog. Franklin D. Roosevelt)|
|1976||David Brion Davis||The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823|
|1972||Allan Nevins||The Organized War (Ordeal of the Union, vols 7-8 of eight)|
|1973||Robert Manson Myers||The Children of Pride: A True Story of Georgia and the Civil War|
|1973 [a]||Isaiah Trunk||Judenrat: The Jewish Councils in Eastern Europe under Nazi Occupation|
|1974||John Clive||Thomas Babington Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian[iii]|
|1975||Bernard Bailyn||The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson (biog. Thomas Hutchinson)|
|1977||Irving Howe||World of Our Fathers: The journey of the East European Jews to America and the life they found and made|
|1978||David McCullough||The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914|
|1979||Richard Beale Davis||Intellectual Life in the Colonial South, 1585-1763|
|1980 hard||Henry A. Kissinger||The White House Years (first of 3 vols)|
|1980 pb||Barbara W. Tuchman||A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century|
|1981 hard||John Boswell||Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality|
|1981 pb||Leon F. Litwack||Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery|
|1982 hard||Peter J. Powell||People of the Sacred Mountain: A History of the Northern Cheyenne Chiefs and Warrior Societies, 1830-1879|
|1982 pb||Robert Wohl||The Generation of 1914|
|1983 hard||Alan Brinkley||Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin and the Great Depression|
|1983 pb||Frank E. Manuel
Fritzie P. Manuel
|Utopia in the Western World|
|1972||Joseph P. Lash||Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship, Based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Papers (biog. Eleanor Roosevelt)|
|1973||James Thomas Flexner||George Washington, Vol. IV: Anguish and Farewell, 1793-1799|
|1974||John Clive||Thomas Babington Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian (biog. Thomas Babington Macaulay)[iii]|
|[b]||Douglas Day||Malcolm Lowry: A Biography (biog. Malcolm Lowry)|
|1975||Richard B. Sewall||The Life of Emily Dickinson (biog. Emily Dickinson)|
|1980 hard||Edmund Morris||The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt|
|1980 pb||A. Scott Berg||Max Perkins: Editor of Genius (biog. Max Perkins)|
Biography and Autobiography
|1977||W.A. Swanberg||Norman Thomas: The Last Idealist (biog. Norman Thomas)|
|1978||W. Jackson Bate||Samuel Johnson (biog. Samuel Johnson)|
|1979||Arthur Schlesinger||Robert Kennedy and His Times (biog. Robert F. Kennedy)|
|1980 hard||Lauren Bacall||Lauren Bacall by Myself|
|1980 pb||Malcolm Cowley||And I Worked at the Writer's Trade: Chapters of Literary History 1918-1978|
|1981 hard||Justin Kaplan||Walt Whitman: A Life (biog. Walt Whitman)|
|1981 pb||Deirdre Bair||Samuel Beckett: A Biography (biog. Samuel Beckett)|
|1982 hard||David McCullough||Mornings on Horseback (biog. Theodore Roosevelt)|
|1982 pb||Ronald Steel||Walter Lippmann and the American Century (biog. Walter Lippmann)|
|1983 hard||Judith Thurman||Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller (biog. Isak Dinesen)|
|1983 pb||James R. Mellow||Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times (biog. Nathaniel Hawthorne)|
Science, Philosophy and Religion
Science, Philosophy and Religion
- "Science, Philosophy and Religion (Nonfiction)" in 1964.
|Man-made America: Chaos or Control?|
|1965||Norbert Wiener||God and Golem, Inc: A Comment on Certain Points where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion|
|1966||No Award (four finalists, none selected)|
|1967||Oscar Lewis||La Vida: A Puerto Rican Family in the Culture of Poverty—San Juan and New York|
|1968||Jonathan Kozol||Death at an Early Age|
|1969||Robert Jay Lifton||Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima|
|1971||Raymond Phineas Sterns||Science in the British Colonies of America|
|1972||George L. Small||The Blue Whale|
|1973||George B. Schaller||The Serengeti Lion: A Study of Predator-Prey Relations|
|1974||S. E. Luria||Life: The Unfinished Experiment|
|1975||Silvano Arieti||Interpretation of Schizophrenia|
|[c]||Lewis Thomas||The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher[ii]|
|1980 hard||Douglas Hofstadter||Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid|
|1980 pb||Gary Zukav||The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics|
|1981 hard||Stephen Jay Gould||The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections on Natural History|
|1981 pb||Lewis Thomas||The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher|
|1982 hard||Donald C. Johanson
Maitland A. Edey
|Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind|
|1982 pb||Fred Alan Wolf||Taking the Quantum Leap: The New Physics for Nonscientists|
|1983 hard||Abraham Pais||"Subtle is the Lord ...": The Science and Life of Albert Einstein (biog. Albert Einstein)|
|1983 pb||Philip J. Davis
|The Mathematical Experience|
Philosophy and Religion
|1970||Erik H. Erikson||Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence|
|1972||Martin E. Marty||Righteous Empire: The Protestant Experience in America|
|1973||S. E. Ahlstrom||A Religious History of the American People|
|1974||Maurice Natanson||Edmund Husserl: Philosopher of Infinite Tasks|
|1975||Robert Nozick||Anarchy, State, and Utopia|
|1980 hard||Elaine Pagels||The Gnostic Gospels (about Gnostic Gospels)|
|1980 pb||Sheldon Vanauken||A Severe Mercy|
|1972||Stewart Brand, editor||The Last Whole Earth Catalogue|
|1973||Frances FitzGerald||Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam|
|1974||Murray Kempton||The Briar Patch: The People of the State of New York versus Lumumba Shakur, et al.|
|1975||Theodore Rosengarten||All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw (see Ned Cobb)|
|1976||Michael J. Arlen||Passage to Ararat|
|1977||Bruno Bettelheim||The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales|
|1978||Gloria Emerson||Winners and Losers|
|1979||Peter Matthiessen||The Snow Leopard[iv]|
|1980 hard||Julia Child||Julia Child and More Company|
|1980 pb||Christopher Lasch||The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations|
|1980 hard||Tom Wolfe||The Right Stuff|
|1980 pb||Peter Matthiessen||The Snow Leopard[iv]|
|1981 hard||Maxine Hong Kingston||China Men|
|1981 pb||Jane Kramer||The Last Cowboy: Europeans and The Politics of Memory|
|1982 hard||Tracy Kidder||The Soul of a New Machine|
|1982 pb||Victor S. Navasky||Naming Names (about the Hollywood blacklist)|
|1983 hard||Fox Butterfield||China: Alive in the Bitter Sea|
|1983 pb||James Fallows||National Defense|
Other Fiction 1980 to 1985
First Work of Fiction
- First Novel
|1981||Ann Arensberg||Sister Wolf|
|1982||Robb Forman Dew||Dale Loves Sophie to Death|
|1983||Gloria Naylor||The Women of Brewster Place|
- First Work of Fiction
|1984||Harriet Doerr||Stones for Ibarra|
|1985||Bob Shacochis||Easy in the Islands|
|1980 hard||John D. MacDonald||The Green Ripper|
|1980 pb||William F. Buckley||Stained Glass|
|1980 hard||Frederik Pohl||Jem|
|1980 pb||Walter Wangerin||The Book of the Dun Cow|
|1980||Louis L'Amour||Bendigo Shafter|
General Reference Books
|1980 hard||Elder Witt, editor||The Complete Directory|
|1980 pb||Tim Brooks
|The Complete Directory of Prime Time Network TV Shows: 1946–Present|
|1983||Lisa Goldstein||The Red Magician|
|1967||Gregory Rabassa||Julio Cortázar's Hopscotch|
|[f]||Willard Trask||Casanova's History of My Life (first of 6 vols.)|
|Søren Kierkegaard's Journals and Papers (first of 7 vols.)|
|1969||William Weaver||Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics|
|1970||Ralph Manheim||Céline's Castle to Castle|
|1971||Frank Jones||Bertolt Brecht's Saint Joan of the Stockyards|
|[g]||Edward G. Seidensticker||Yasunari Kawabata's The Sound of the Mountain|
|1972||Austryn Wainhouse||Jacques Monod's Chance and Necessity|
|1973||Allen Mandelbaum||The Aeneid of Virgil|
|1974||Karen Brazell||The Confessions of Lady Nijo|
|[b]||Helen R. Lane||Octavio Paz's Alternating Current|
|[b]||Jackson Matthews||Paul Valéry's Monsieur Teste|
|1975||Anthony Kerrigan||Miguel de Unamuno's The Agony of Christianity and Essays on Faith|
|1977||Li-Li Ch'en||Master Tung's Western Chamber Romance|
|1978||Richard and Clara Winston||Uwe George's In the Deserts of This Earth|
José Rubia Barcia
|César Vallejo's The Complete Posthumous Poetry|
|1980||William Arrowsmith||Cesare Pavese's Hard Labor|
|[h]||Jane Gary Harris
|Osip E. Mandelstam's Complete Critical Prose and Letters|
|1981||Francis Steegmuller||The Letters of Gustave Flaubert|
|[i]||John E. Woods||Arno Schmidt's Evening Edged in Gold|
|1982||Robert Lyons Danly||Higuchi Ichiyō's In the Shade of Spring Leaves|
|[j]||Ian Hideo Levy||The Ten Thousand Leaves: A Translation of The Man'Yoshu, Japan's Premier Anthology of Classical Poetry|
|1983||Richard Howard||Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal|
1935 to 1941
The first National Book Awards were presented in May 1936 at the annual convention of the American Booksellers Association to four 1935 books selected by its members. Subsequently, the awards were announced mid-February to March 1 and presented at the convention. For 1937 books there were ballots from 319 stores, about three times so many as for 1935. There had been 600 ABA members in 1936.
The "Most Distinguished" Nonfiction, Biography, and Novel (for 1935 and 1936) were reduced to two and termed "Favorite" Nonfiction and Fiction beginning 1937. Master of ceremonies Clifton Fadiman declined to consider the Pulitzer Prizes (not yet announced in February 1938) as potential ratifications. "Unlike the Pulitzer Prize committee, the booksellers merely vote for their favorite books. They do not say it is the best book or the one that will elevate the standard of manhood or womanhood. Twenty years from now we can decide which are the masterpieces. This year we can only decide which books we enjoyed reading the most."
The Bookseller Discovery officially recognized "outstanding merit which failed to receive adequate sales and recognition" The award stood alone for 1941 and the New York Times frankly called it "a sort of consolation prize that the booksellers hope will draw attention to his work".
Authors and publishers outside the United States were eligible and there were several winners by non-U.S. authors (at least Lofts, Curie, de Saint-Exupéry, Du Maurier, and Llewellyn). The Bookseller Discovery and the general awards for fiction and non-fiction were conferred six times in seven years, the Most Original Book five times, and the biography award in the first two years only.
Dates are years of publication.
- Bookseller Discovery
- 1935 —
- 1936, Norah Lofts, (short stories), I Met a Gypsy
- 1937, Lawrence Watkin, (novel), On Borrowed Time
- 1938, David Fairchild, (nonfiction), The World Was My Garden: Travels of a Plant Explorer
- 1939, Elgin Groseclose, (novel), Ararat
- 1940, Perry Burgess, Who Walk Alone (1942 subtitle, Life of a Leper)
- 1941, George Sessions Perry, (novel), Hold Autumn in Your Hand
- 1935, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, North to the Orient
- 1936, Van Wyck Brooks, The Flowering of New England: 1815-1865
- 1937, Ève Curie, Madame Curie (biog. Marie Curie)
- 1938, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Listen! The Wind
- 1939, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars
- 1940, Hans Zinsser, As I Remember Him: The Biography of R.S.
- 1941 —
- Biography (both winners were autobiographies)
- 1935, Vincent Sheean, Personal History
- 1936, Victor Heiser, An American Doctor's Odyssey: Adventures in Forty-Five Countries
- 1935, Rachel Field, Time Out of Mind
- 1936, Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind
- 1937, A. J. Cronin, The Citadel
- 1938, Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca
- 1939, John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
- 1940, Richard Llewellyn, How Green Was My Valley
- 1941 —
- Most Original Book
- 1935, Charles G. Finney, (novel), The Circus of Dr. Lao
- 1936, Della T. Lutes, (autobiography & cookbook), The Country Kitchen
- 1937, Carl Crow, (nonfiction), Four Hundred Million Customers: The Experiences—Some Happy, Some Sad, of an American Living in China, and What They Taught Him
- 1938, Margaret Halsey, (humor, satire), With Malice Toward Some
The "Academy Awards model" (Oscars) was introduced in 1980 under the name TABA, The American Book Awards. The program expanded from seven literary awards to 28 literary and 6 graphics awards. After 1983, with 19 literary and 8 graphics awards, the Awards practically went out of business, to be restored in 1984 with a program of three literary awards.
Since 1988 the Awards have been under the care of the National Book Foundation which does not recognize the graphics awards.
|1980||Art/Illustrated collection (hardcover)||Drawings and Digressions by Larry Rivers with Carol Brightman; Herman Strobuck, designer (Clarkson N. Potter)|
|Art/Illustrated original art (hard)||The Birthday of the Infanta by Oscar Wilde (1888 original), illustrated by Leonard Lubin (Viking Press)|
|Art/Illustrated (paperback)||Anatomy Illustrated by Emily Blair Chewning; designed by Dana Levy (Fireside/ Simon & Schuster)|
|Book Design (hc & ppb)||The Architect's Eye by Debora Nevins and Robert A. M. Stern (Pantheon Books)|
|Cover Design (paper)||Famous Potatoes by Joe Cottonwood (orig. 1978); David Myers, designer (Delta/ Seymour Lawrence)|
|Jacket Design (hard)||Birdy by William Wharton; Fred Marcellino, designer (Alfred A. Knopf)[v]|
|1981||Book Design, pictorial||In China, photographed by Eve Arnold, designer R. D. Scudellari (The Brooklyn Museum)|
|Book Design, typographical||Saul Bellow, Drumlin Woodchuck by Mark Harris, designed by Richard Hendel (University of Georgia Press)|
|Book Illustration, collected or adapted||The Lost Museum: glimpses of vanished originals by Robert M. Adams, designed by Michael Shroyer (Viking Press)|
|Cover Design, paperback||Fiorucci: The Book, designed by Quist-Couratin(?) (Milan: Harlin Quist Books, distributed by Dial/ Delacorte)|
|Jacket Design, hardcover||In China, photographed by Eve Arnold, designer R. D. Scudellari (The Brooklyn Museum)|
|1983||Pictorial Design||Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, designer/illustrator Barry Moser, art director Steve Renick (University of California Press)|
|Typographical Design||A Constructed Roman Alphabet, designer/illustrator David Lance Goines, art director William F. Luckey (David R. Godine)|
|Illustration Collected Art||John Singer Sargent by Carter Ratcliff, designer Howard Morris, editor Nancy Grubb, production manager Dana Cole (Abbeville Press)|
|Illustration Original Art||Porcupine Stew by Beverly Major, illustrator Erick Ingraham, designer/art director Cynthia Basil (William Morrow Junior Books)|
|Illustration Photographs||Alfred Stieglitz: Photographs and Writings by Sarah Greenough and Juan Hamilton, designer Eleanor Morris Caponigro (National Gallery of Art/Callaway Editions)|
|Cover Design||Bogmail by Patrick McGinley, illustrator Doris Ettlinger, designer/art director Neil Stuart (Penguin Books)|
|Jacket Design||Souls on Fire by Elie Wiesel, designer Fred Marcellino, art director Frank Metz (Summit Books/ Simon & Schuster)|
Herbert Mitgang's report on the inaugural TABA begins thus: "Thirty-four hardcover and paperback books, many of which nobody had heard of before, were named winners during a generally ragged presentation of the first American Book Awards in a ceremony at the Seventh Regiment Armory last night. The event was designed to resemble Hollywood's Oscars, but instead there was little glamour. All the winners were barred from accepting their awards, and most did not attend."
At least three books have won two National Book Awards.
Dates are award years.
- John Clive, Thomas Babington Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian
- 1974 Biography; 1974 History
- Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard
- 1979 Contemporary Thought; 1980 General Nonfiction, Paperback
- Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
- 1975 Arts and Letters; 1975 Science
At least three authors have won three awards: Saul Bellow with three Fiction awards; Peter Matthiessen with two awards for The Snow Leopard (above) and the 2008 Fiction award for Shadow Country; Lewis Thomas with two awards for The Lives of a Cell (above) and the 1981 Science paperback award for The Medusa and the Snail.
These three authors and numerous others have written two award-winning books.
Dates are award years.
"Children's" and "Young People's" categories
- Lloyd Alexander, 1971, 1982
- Katherine Paterson, 1977, 1979
- Saul Bellow (3), 1954, 1965, 1971
- John Cheever, 1958, 1981
- William Faulkner, 1951, 1955
- William Gaddis, 1976, 1994
- Bernard Malamud, 1959, 1967
- Wright Morris, 1957, 1981
- Philip Roth, 1960, 1995
- John Updike, 1964, 1982
- Jesmyn Ward, 2011, 2017
"Fiction" and another category
- Peter Mathiessen, 2008 and The Snow Leopard, two nonfiction categories 1979 and 1980
- Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1974 and A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing up in Warsaw, Children's Literature 1970
"Nonfiction" and nonfiction subcategories
- Justin Kaplan, 1961, 1981 (Arts and Letters, Biography/Autobiography)
- George F. Kennan, 1957, 1968 (Nonfiction, History and Biography)
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1936, 1939 (Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction)
- David McCullough, 1978, 1982 (History, Autobiography/Biography)
- Arthur Schlesinger, 1966, 1979 (History and Biography, Biography and Autobiography)
- Frances Steegmuller, 1971, 1981 (Arts and Letters, Translation)
- Lewis Thomas, 1975, 1981 (Arts and Letters and Science, Science)
- A. R. Ammons, 1973, 1993
- Alan Dugan, 1962, 2001
- Philip Levine, 1980, 1991
- James Merrill, 1967, 1979
- Theodore Roethke, 1959, 1965
- Wallace Stevens, 1951, 1955
The Translation award was split six times during its 1967 to 1983 history, once split three ways. Twelve other awards were split, all during that period.
- 1967 Translation
- 1971 Translation
- 1972 Poetry
- 1973 Fiction, History
- 1974 Fiction, Poetry, Biography, Translation (3)
- 1975 Fiction, Arts & Letters, The Sciences
- 1980 Translation
- 1981 Translation
- 1982 Translation
- 1983 Poetry, Children's Fiction paper, Children's Picture hard
Four of the ten awards were split in 1974, including the three-way split in Translation. That year the Awards practically went out of business. In 1975 there was no sponsor. A temporary administrator, the Committee on Awards Policy, "begged" judges not to split awards, yet three of ten awards were split. William Cole explained this in a New York Times column pessimistically entitled "The Last of the National Book Awards" but the Awards were "saved" by the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1976.
Split awards returned with a 1980 reorganization on Academy Awards lines (under the ambiguous name "American Book Awards" for a few years). From 1980 to 1983 there were not only split awards but more than twenty award categories annually; there were graphics awards (or "non-literary awards") and dual awards for hardcover and paperback books, both unique to the period.
In 1983 the awards again went out of business, and they were not saved for 1983 publications (January to October). The 1984 reorganization prohibited split awards as it trimmed the award categories from 27 to three.
- Split awards
- Split award. In 1973 there were 12 winning books in 10 award categories.
- Split award. In 1974 there were 14 winning books in 10 award categories.
- Split award. In 1975 there were 12 winners in 10 award categories, although the Committee on Awards Policy, temporary administrator, "begged" judges not to split awards.
- Split award. In 1972 there were 11 winners in 10 award categories.
- Split award. In 1983 there were 22 winners in 19 award categories.
- Split award. In 1967 there were 7 winners in 6 award categories.
This was the first split National Book Award. It was also the inaugural award in a new category, Translation, with the standard $1000 cash prize donated by the National Translation Center. Judging by next-day coverage in The New York Times, only the five established award categories were covered by the January 31 announcement of nominees (finalists) and the March 4 announcement of winners (four days before the presentation). Henry Raymont, who would also cover the presentation, was evidently unaware of the new award, or of the increase in number to six categories. But the newspaper had announced it February 8 ("$1,000 National Book Prize Is Set Up for a Translation") and Lewis Nichols mentioned it again when Raymont did not ("IN AND OUT Of BOOKS: Translators").
- Split award. In 1971 there were 8 winners in 7 award categories.
- Split award. In 1980 there were 29 winners in 28 literary award categories.
- Split award. In 1981 there were 17 winners in 16 literary award categories.
- Split award. In 1982 there were 19 winners in 18 literary award categories.
- Irving, Cheever, Maxwell, and Welty won the 1980 to 1983 awards for general paperback fiction. None were paperback originals. Indeed, all four had been losing finalists for the Fiction award in their hardcover editions (two 1979, two 1981).
- Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell, won both the Arts and Letters and the Sciences awards in 1975.
- John Clive, Thomas Babington Macaulay, won both the History and Biography awards in 1974.
- Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard, won the Contemporary Thought award in 1979 and the General Nonfiction, Paperback award in 1980.
- Birdy by William Wharton, designed by Fred Marcellino, published by Alfred A. Knopf, won both the First Novel and Jacket Design awards in 1980, presumably received by Wharton and Marcellino respectively.
- "Frequently Asked Questions". NBF: About Us. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- "2013 National Book Awards". NBF. Retrieved 2013-11-21.
- "2013 National Book Award Finalists Announced". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
- National Book Foundation (NBA): Awards: "National Book Award Winners: 1950–2009". Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- "National Book Awards – 1970". NBF. Retrieved 2012-04-01. (Select 1970 to 1979 from the top left menu.)
- Eric Pace (Apr 11, 1973). "2 Book Awards Split for First Time .." The New York Times. p. 38. Retrieved 2012-01-25. (subscription or purchase required; title and abstract free of charge)
- Steven R. Weismann (Apr 19, 1974). "Books Presents Its Oscars: Audience Wonders". The New York Times. p. 24.
- William Cole (May 4, 1975). "The Guest Word: The Last of the National Book Awards?". The New York Times. p. 288.
- Leslie Kaufman (Nov 14, 2012). "Novel About Racial Injustice Wins National Book Award". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- Alter, Alexandra (November 19, 2014). "National Book Award Goes to Phil Klay for His Short Story Collection". The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
- "2015 National Book Awards". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- Alter, Alexandra (19 November 2015). "Ta-Nehisi Coates Wins National Book Award". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "2014 National Book Awards". NBF. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
- "National Book Awards – 1980". NBF. Retrieved 2012-04-01. (Select 1980 to 1983 from the top left menu.)
- "National Book Awards – 1960". NBF. Retrieved 2012-03-05. (Select 1960 to 1969 from the top left menu.)
- "Books and Authors", The New York Times, Apr 12, 1936, p. BR12.
- "Lewis is Scornful of Radio Culture: Nothing Ever Will Replace the Old-Fashioned Book ", The New York Times, May 12, 1936, p. 25.
- "5 Honors Awarded on the Year's Books: Authors of Preferred Volumes Hailed at Luncheon of Booksellers Group", The New York Times, Feb 26, 1937, p. 23.
- Ballots were submitted from 319 stores; there had been about 600 members one year earlier. "Booksellers Give Prize to 'Citadel': Cronin's Work About Doctors Their Favorite--'Mme. Curie' Gets Non-Fiction Award TWO OTHERS WIN HONORS Fadiman Is 'Not Interested' in What Pulitzer Committee Thinks of Selections". The New York Times. Mar 2, 1938. p. 14.
- "Book About Plants Receives Award: Dr. Fairchild's 'Garden' Work Cited by Booksellers", The New York Times, Feb 15, 1939, p. 20.
- "1939 Book Awards Given by Critics: Elgin Groseclose's 'Ararat' is Picked as Work Which Failed to Get Due Recognition", The New York Times, Feb 14, 1940, p. 25.
- "Books and Authors", The New York Times, Feb 16, 1941, p. BR12.
- "Neglected Author Gets High Honor: 1941 Book Award Presented to George Perry for 'Hold Autumn in Your Hand'", The New York Times, Feb 11, 1942, p. 18.
- Who Walk Alone. Amazon.com product information with image of a Bookseller Discovery edition (37th printing). Retrieved 2012-01-30.
- Who Walk Alone: The Life of a Leper. Amazon.com production information with 1942 subtitle. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
- An American Doctor's Odyssey: Adventures in Forty-Five Countries. Amazon.com product information, 1936 first edition with subtitle. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
- "An American Doctor's Odyssey". Am J Public Health Nations Health. 26 (10): 1045–1047. PMC .
- Book Review: The Country Kitchen by Della T. Lutes" (2009?). Organic Test Kitchen (blog by Theo). Retrieved 2012-01-30.
- "Margaret Halsey, 86, a Writer Who Lampooned the English", Dinitia Smith, The New York Times, Feb 7, 1997. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
- "The American Book Awards: 1980 Nominees", The New York Times, Apr 13, 1980, p. BR9.
- "Styron and Wolfe Lead Book-Award Winners: Miss Welty Wins National Medal; Counterceremonies on West Side", Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times, May 2, 1980, p. C25.
- "American Book Awards Are Given for 22 Works: Buckley and Galbraith Hosts; Choices Made by Juries", Edwin McDowell, The New York Times, May 1, 1981, p. C24