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National Book Award for Fiction Winners

The National Book Award for Fiction is one of four annual National Book Awards, which recognize outstanding literary work by United States citizens. Since 1987 they have been administered and presented by the National Book Foundation, but they are awards "by writers to writers." The panelists are five "writers who are known to be doing great work in their genre or field."

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National Book Award for Fiction Winners

National Book Award for Fiction Winners

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2013 - The Good Lord Bird by James McBride - Fleeing his violent master at the side of abolitionist John Brown at the height of the slavery debate in mid-nineteenth-century Kansas Territory, Henry pretends to be a girl to hide his identity throughout the raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.

Catalog - The good lord bird

2012 - The Round House by Louise Erdrich - When his mother, a tribal enrollment specialist living on a reservation in North Dakota, slips into an abyss of depression after being brutally attacked, 14-year-old Joe Coutz sets out with his three friends to find the person that destroyed his family.

2011 - Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward - Enduring a hardscrabble existence as the children of alcoholic and absent parents, four siblings from a coastal Mississippi town prepare their meager stores for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina while struggling with such challenges as a teen pregnancy and a dying litter of prize pups.

2010 - Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon - In the early 1970s, trainer Tommy Hansel attempts a horse racing scam at a small, backwoods track in West Virginia, but nothing goes according to his plan when the horses refuse to cooperate and nearly everyone at the track seems to know his scheme.

2009 - Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann - In 1974 Manhattan, a radical young Irish monk struggles with personal demons while making his home among Bronx prostitutes, a group of mothers shares grief over their lost Vietnam soldier sons, and a young grandmother attempts to prove her worth.

2008 - Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen - Inspired by a near-mythic event of the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the twentieth century, Shadow Country reimagines the legend of the inspired Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E.J. Watson.

2007 - Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson - The lives of Skip Sands, a spy-in-training engaged in psychological operations against the Vietcong, and brothers Bill and James Houston, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert into a war, intertwine in a novel of America during the Vietnam War.

2006 - The Echo Maker by Richard Powers - Twenty-seven-year-old Mark Schluter, suffering from a rare brain disorder that causes him to believe his sister to be an impostor, endeavors to discover the cause of the motor vehicle accident that resulted in his head injury.

2005 - Europe Central by William T. Vollmann - A series of interconnected stories seeks to contrast the moral decisions made by famous and everyday individuals with regard to the warring authoritarian cultures of Germany and the USSR in the twentieth century.

2004 - The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck - Pursued by the future dictator of Paraguay, Irish courtesan Ella Lynch struggles with isolation in spite of her power as his mistress, and witnesses the nation's victimization due to her lover's arrogant ambitions.

2003 - The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard - In the aftermath of World War II, young men and women living in Europe and Asia reconstruct their lives, including a soldier who learns that material goods and success are not enough, and a woman in Japan who tends to her dying brother.

2002 - Three Junes by Julia Glass - Reveals the interconnected lives, loves, and relationships of different generations of the McLeod family over the course of three crucial summers.

2001 - The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen - Enid Lambert begins to worry about her husband when he begins to withdraw and lose himself in negativity and depression as he faces Parkinson's disease.

2000 - In America by Susan Sontag - Poland's greatest living actress leads a utopian community to the wilds of 1876 California, where she will struggle to maintain love, hope, and idealism in the harsh reality of the American West.

1999 - Waiting by Ha Jin - An ambitious and dedicated Chinese doctor, Lin Kong finds himself torn between two very different women - the educated and dynamic nurse with whom he has fallen in love and the traditional, meek, and humble woman to whom his family married him when they were both very young.

1998 - Charming Billy by Alice McDermott - When the late Billy Lynch's relatives and friends gather together to keep his memory alive, stories are woven and memories relived detailing his life in the close Irish-American community and the intricate feelings that resurface.

1997 - Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier - Inman, a wounded soldier, walks away from the front during the Civil War to return to his prewar sweetheart, Ada, who desperately works to revive a struggling farm.

Catalog - Cold mountain

1996 - Ship Fever: Stories by Andrea Barrett - A collection of stories that consider the struggles of love and science includes the title work, in which a young Canadian doctor, treating Irish immigrants who have been driven out by the Great Famine, experiences one of history's most tragic epidemics.

1995 - Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth - The death of his mistress sends Mickey Sabbath, an audacious libertine and onetime producer, on a psychic journey into his past.

Catalog - Sabbath's theater

1994 - A Frolic of His Own by William Gaddis - A satirically jaundiced view of modern law and justice chronicles the fortunes of Oscar Crease, a middle-aged college instructor and playwright, as he sues a Hollywood producer for pirating a play.

Catalog - A frolic of his own : a novel

1993 - The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx - Surprising transformations take place when a newspaperman's elderly aunt and two daughters decide to move back to their family home on the coast of Newfoundland.

1992 - All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy - Cut off from the life of ranching he has come to love by his grandfather's death, John Grady Cole flees to Mexico, where he and his two companions embark on a rugged and cruelly idyllic adventure.

1991 - Mating by Norman Rush - While in Africa to work on her thesis project, an American anthropologist falls for Nelson Denoon, the charismatic intellectual who is rumored to have founded a highly secretive unorthodox utopian society.

Catalog - Mating

1990 - Middle Passage by Charles Johnson - A stowaway aboard the slave ship "Republic" during its journey from the Americas to West Africa in 1830, freed slave Rutherford Calhoun is intent on escaping his debts and an unwanted marriage.

Catalog - Middle passage

1989 - Spartina by John Casey - A commercial fisherman, husband, father, and lover, Dick Pierce upsets the placidity of his family when he finds himself in love with two people at the same time.

Catalog - Spartina