If It’s Not a Winner, Is It a Loser?


We all know that intimate moment when we are walking through the stacks and spot a book that stands out to us. What is it that makes it stand out though?

Is it the title?
The author’s name and reputation?
The publisher, editor, or agent?
The beautiful cover with the embossed artwork?
The blurbs by other acclaimed authors or networks?
The little circular sticker that proves the book has achieved a higher literary status than it’s counterparts?
But, what does that little sticker mean?

I have comprised a list of fun facts about the common book awards and prizes given to authors and their books for literary excellency. They are in no particular order as follows:2

1. Nobel Prize in Literature


» “On 27 November 1895, a year before his death, Alfred Nobel… stipulated in his will that most of his estate, more than SEK 31 million (today approximately SEK 1,712 million) should be converted into a fund and invested in ‘safe securities.’ The income from that investments was to be ‘distributed annually in the form of prizes to those who during the preceding year have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.’ The Nobel Prize amount for 2017 is set at Swedish kronor (SEK) 9.0 million per Nobel Prize.”

» As described in Nobel’s will, the Nobel Prize in literature goes to, “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.”

» 114 individuals have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature from 1901-2017.

» 14 women have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first in 1909.Nobel Prize Countries2

2. The Neustadt Prize

» Founded in 1969neustadt-feather

» Called the Books Abroad International Prize for Literature until 1976

» The prize consists of $50,000, a replica of an eagle feather cast in silver, and a certificate.

» Journalists refer to the prize as the “American Nobel”.

“The Neustadt Prize is decided every other year by a jury of 7-9 writers who each nominate an author for the prize.”

“It is the first international literary award of this scope to originate in the United States and is one of the very few international prizes for which poets, novelists, and playwrights are equally eligible.”

Neustadt Global Coverage2

3. The Pulitzer PrizePulitzer

» Winners receive a $15,000 cash award and a certificate.

» Many of the prizes are given for journalism.

» The awards given to literary authors are:

-For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.
-For a distinguished and appropriately documented book upon the history of the United States.
-For a distinguished and appropriately documented biography or autobiography by an American author.
-For a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author.
-For a distinguished and appropriately documented book of nonfiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other category.


4. The Man Booker Prize

» 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker PrizeThe Man Booker Prize

» It was originally called the “Booker Prize”

» For fiction

“The winner of The Man Booker Prize receives £50,000 and, like all the shortlisted authors, a cheque for £2,500 and a designer bound copy of their book.”


5. The Man Booker International Prize

» “The Man Booker International Prize is significantly different from the annual Man the man booker international prizeBooker Prize for Fiction. In seeking out literary excellence, the judges consider a writer’s body of work rather than a single novel.”

» “The Man Booker International Prize recognises one writer for his or her achievement in fiction. Worth £60,000, the prize is awarded every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work in generally available in translation in the English language. The winner is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel and there are no submissions from publishers.”2

6. International DUBLIN Literary Award


» Originally “The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award”

» The Award is now in it’s 23rd year

» The Award is presented annually for a novel written in English or translated into English.

» “Nominations are submitted by library systems in major cities throughout the world. Over 400 library systems in 177 countries worldwide are invited to nominate books each year.”

“The prize is €100,000 which is awarded to the author if the book is written in English. If the winning book is in English translation, the author receives €75,000 and the translator, €25,000.”


7. National Book AwardNBA.gif

» Established in 1950

» Administered by the National Book Foundation

» Judged by twenty experts in the field selected by the Foundation

» Publishers are sent guidelines on how to enter books, and those publishers who are not sent guidelines can request materials to submit their books. However, authors cannot submit their own books.

“In order to be eligible for the Award, a book must be written by an American citizen and published by an American publisher between December 1 of the previous year and November 30 of the current year. Self-published books are only eligible if the author/publisher publishes the work of other authors in addition to his own.”

» “The night before the Awards, each Finalist receives a prize of $1,000, a medal, and a citation from the panel at a private Medal Ceremony. Immediately following the Medal Ceremony, all twenty Finalists read from their nominated books at the Finalists Reading. The four Winners in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature are announced the following evening at the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner, where each Winner receives $10,000 and a bronze sculpture.”2

8. British Book Awardsbritish-book-awards.jpg

» Also known as “The Nibbles

» Launched in 1990

» Celebrates the commercial successes of publishers, authors, and bookshops.

“The British Book Awards announces seven individual books of the year: Children’s Debut Fiction, Fiction, Crime, Thriller, Non-fiction: Lifestyle, Non-fiction: Narrative, and (new in 2018) Audiobook. An overall Book of the Year is then chosen from the individual winners.”


9. Costa Book AwardsCOSTA

» Honors outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

» Launched in 1971 as the Whitbread Literary Awards, which became the Whitbread Book Awards in 1985, and Costa Book Awards took over in 2006.

» Awards are given in five categories: First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry, and Children’s Book – with one of the five winners chosen as Book of the Year.2

10. Hugo Awardshugo

» Founded in 1953

» Awarded in science fiction and fantasy

» Voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS), which anyone can be a member if they pay a smell fee (roughly $50)

Any work is eligible, regardless of its place or language of publication. Works first published in languages other than English are also eligible in their first year of publication in English translation.”

» The winners receive a trophy with the finned Hugo rocket atop.2

11. The Specsavers National Book Awards

» Created in 2010Specsavers

» A series of prizes awarded to writers who have made an impact on the United Kingdom book market through coverage or sales.

» 11 awards total, each of which has a commercial sponsor

» Shortlists are chosen by a 750-person Academy, however since 2010, the Book of the Year has been chosen online by public vote.2Sources:

History of The Man Booker Prize
The Man Booker International Prize
National Book Awards
The British Book Award
Nobel Prize Facts
International DUBLIN Literary Award
The Pulitzer Prizes
Costa Book Awards
Neustadt Prize
The Hugo Awards
The Specsavers National Book Awards2

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