It’s easy to feel intimidated by book awards—numerous shortlists, longlists, and winners are announced all year round, universally prestigious in their own right—so we collected some of the biggest ones to watch here so you can stay on top of it all. Because these books are selected by esteemed juries or voted upon by the masses, they are great jumping-off points to build up your to-be-read list. Read on to browse our audiobook playlists to help you hone in on the best of the best!
Major Book Awards
The Pulitzer Prizes
Honoring excellence in journalism and the arts since 1917, The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine, online journalism, literature and musical composition within the United States.
The Booker Prize
The Booker Prize (formerly known as the Booker Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize) is a literary prize awarded each year for the best novel written in English. The 2021 winner is The Promise by Damon Galgut.
John Newbery Medal
The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Association) to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The Medal Winner for 2022 is The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera.
National Book Critics Circle Awards
Each year, the National Book Critics Circle presents awards for the finest books published in English in six categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Poetry, and Criticism.
National Book Awards
The National Book Awards are a set of annual literary awards to celebrate the best literature in America. Longlists for 2021 were announced September 15th-17th, finalists on October 5th, and the winners on November 17th.
Women’s Prize for Fiction
The Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award celebrating and honoring fiction written by women.
Costa Book Awards
The Costa Book Awards are a set of annual literary awards recognizing English-language books by writers based in Britain and Ireland since 1971. The 2021 winners will be announced January 3rd, 2022, and the Costa Book of the Year will be announced Tuesday, February 1st, 2022.
The Hugo Awards
Widely considered the premier award in science fiction, The Hugo Awards are an annual literary award for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year, given at the World Science Fiction Convention and chosen by its members.
ALA Youth Media Awards
Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) announces the top books, digital media, video, and audiobooks for children and young adults—including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery, and Printz awards.
Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence
The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, established in 2012, recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. in the previous year and serve as a guide to help adults select quality reading material. The 2021 winners were Deacon King Kong by James McBridge and Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs, and the 2022 shortlist is below.
The Audie Awards® is the most prestigious award recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken-word entertainment.
AudioFile Earphone Awards
The Earphones Award is awarded monthly by AudioFile to truly exceptional titles that excel in narrative voice and style, characterizations, suitability to audio, and enhancement of the text.
Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, first awarded in 2006, was created to honor the best debut fiction of the year. The winner receives a $15,000 prize, with each shortlisted author receiving $1,000. The winner will be announced in December.
Each spring, Mystery Writers of America present the Edgar® Awards, widely acknowledged to be the most prestigious awards in the mystery and crime genre. The 2022 award winners will be announced April 28th.
Lambda Literary Awards
Created over 30 years ago to recognize the crucial role LGBTQ writers play in shaping the world, the Lammys celebrate the very best in LGBTQ literature.
The Nebula Awards annually recognize the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in the United States. The awards are organized and awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, a nonprofit association of professional science fiction and fantasy writers.
A list of the winning and honor audiobooks for the 2021 Odyssey Award for best audiobooks produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States.
Pen America Literary Award
Since 1963, the PEN America Literary Awards Program has honored outstanding voices in fiction, poetry, science writing, essays, biography, children’s literature, translation, drama, and more.
The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction honors the best published works of fiction by American permanent residents in a calendar year. This year’s winner is The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw.
The Walter Awards
Presented by We Need Diverse Books, the Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children’s Literature recognize diverse authors whose works feature diverse main characters and address diversity in a meaningful way.
The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
Honoring the achievements of the founding father of the historical novel, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction celebrates quality of writing in the English language, and is open to novels published in the previous year in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth.
What’s your favorite book award?
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