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Eight Exciting International Book Awards to Look Out For

By Chao Shete

Wondering what the next hot book is? Here are eight exciting international book awards where you can find your next favourite piece of literature!

Book award logos
Photo: Book Awards - The Pulitzer Prize, The Booker Prize / The National Book Critics Circle / International Dublin Literary Awards / The National Book Award / Women's Prize for Fiction / The Caine Prize / The Nobel Prize

Every book lover enjoys a good book recommendation, and if there is any time you are guaranteed the best recommendations - relatively speaking - to add to your reading list, it is during International Book Awards ceremonies. The assumption is that if a book is nominated for or wins an award, then there must be something about it and by law you are required to be curious about said books.

In the spirit of keeping it brief, I have compiled a short list of International Literary Awards you should be on the lookout for (It also doubles as a potential resource for when you’re curating your next reading list.)

So, here’s to celebrating and discovering authors, new books, and literature!

Nobel Prize in Literature

I will be cliche and succumb to the glamour that is the The Nobel Prize as my first choice. Named after Alfred Nobel, this prize has been awarded annually since 1901 to an author in the field of literature who has produced the most outstanding work in an idealistic direction. It is considered the highest literary award, and has since its establishment been awarded to authors like Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. However, it is important to note that Literature is not the only category in the Nobel Prize arsenal. The categories include recognition in fields like Science, medicine and peace.

The Nobel Prize in Literature has no official restrictions to the genre of the book.

Pulitzer Prize

Just like the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer prize is a prestigious award conferred in 21 literary categories. Named after Joseph Pulitzer, a renowned journalist in the 1800s, Pulitzer Prizes are awarded in many different fields, including fiction, nonfiction, drama, editorial writing, and criticism. The Pulitzer Prize is run by Columbia University.

The Booker Prize

This is a literary award conferred each year for the best fiction novel written in English, and published in the UK and Ireland. While the prize predominantly caters to English-written books, it is open to books written in Foreign languages as long as the book is translated. Introduced in 2004 to complement the Booker prize, the International Booker Prize is open to any fiction novels written in a foreign language, as long as the book has been translated to English and published in the UK and Ireland. Overall, the Booker prize seeks mainly to highlight English books published in the UK & Ireland and welcomes all authors regardless of nationality.

The winner is awarded £50,000 as the grand prize.

National Book Awards

Founded in 1950, this award is a celebration of some of the best work written by American authors. Yes, only American authors. Nonetheless, the selection process is quite rigorous with judges ranging from booksellers to librarians, writers to critics; the National Book Awards is held annually.

Women’s Prize for Fiction

The Women’s Prize for Fiction is an annual award that seeks to celebrate and empower women to continue writing and owning their stories. As part of their empowerment programs, the Women’s Prize for Fiction also holds foundational programs that provide tools, strategies and mentorship to aspiring female authors to develop their writing. The award recognises work written in English by female authors and published in the UK. The Women’s Prize for Fiction is one of the biggest literary awards and is open to women globally.

International Dublin Literary Award

Founded in 1996, the International Dublin Literary Award is awarded annually for a novel written or translated in English. The prize stands at €100 000, placing this award among the richest literary awards in the world. However, it is important to note that for any translated work the award is divided between the author and the translator. The International Dublin Literary Award has no nationality restrictions.

Caine Prize

The Caine Prize for African Writing is held annually to recognise the best original English short story by an African Writer, globally. This means that the writer does not have to be solely based in Africa. Founded in 2000 in the United Kingdom, the £10,000 prize was named in memory of philanthropist Sir Micael Harris Caine.

National Book Critics Circle Award

The National Book Critics Circle presents awards in six categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Poetry, and Criticism. The awards are presented annually in America. Nominated literature works have to be published in English in the U.S. Their main aim is to highlight the most remarkable books across genres of the previous year.


About the Writer:

Chao Shete is a writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She enjoys writing fiction, creative non-fiction essays and book reviews. When she is not writing, she spends most of her time getting lost between the pages of a good book.

Twitter: @hope_shete


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