Fiction Prize

Since 2008, the Library of Congress has awarded a prize to distinguished writers of fiction. The Library of Congress Lifetime Achievement Award for the Writing of Fiction was created to honor a career dedicated to the literary arts. This award was first presented to Herman Wouk on Sept. 10, 2008. This inaugural award has inspired subsequent Library of Congress fiction awards, given in connection with the Library’s annual National Book Festival.

From 2009 to 2012, the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for fiction was presented to John Grisham, Isabel Allende, Toni Morrison and Philip Roth. Beginning in 2013, the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction has been presented to an author for a body of extraordinary work. Recipients have included Don DeLillo and E.L. Doctorow.

The annual Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction is meant to honor an American literary writer whose body of work is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination. The award seeks to commend strong, unique, enduring voices that, throughout long, consistently accomplished careers, have told us something about the American experience.

  • Biography
    Colson Whitehead
    2020 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction
    Colson Whitehead was born in New York City in 1969. He is a graduate of Harvard University and has taught at Princeton and New York universities. The author of seven novels, Whitehead is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
  • Biography
    Richard Ford
    2019 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction
    Richard Ford’s seven novels include “The Sportswriter,” the first of the Bascombe Trilogy, and “Canada,” winner of the Prix Femina étranger. He has also published three short story collections, a novella collection and a memoir.
  • Biography
    E. Annie Proulx
    2018 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction
    E. Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including “The Shipping News,” which received the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the Irish Times International Fiction Prize; and “Postcards,” winner of the PEN/Faulkner award—Proulx was the first woman to win the award.
  • Biography
    Denis Johnson
    2017 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction
    Denis Johnson is the author of the critically acclaimed collection of short stories “Jesus’ Son” and the novel “Tree of Smoke,” which won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Biography
    Marilynne Robinson
    2016 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction
    Marilynne Robinson is the author of five novels, including “Lila” (2014), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; “Home” (2008), winner of the Orange Prize (UK) and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and “Gilead” (2004), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
  • Biography
    Louise Erdrich
    2015 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction
    Louise Erdrich is author of the critically acclaimed novels “Love Medicine,” “The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse,” “The Plague of Doves” and “The Round House.” She has received the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
  • Biography
    E.L. Doctorow
    2014 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction
    E.L. Doctorow is the author of such critically acclaimed novels as “Ragtime” (National Book Critics Circle Award), “World’s Fair” (National Book Award), “Billy Bathgate” (PEN/Faulkner Award), “The March” (National Book Critics Circle Award, PEN/Faulkner Award) and “Andrew’s Brain.”
  • Biography
    Don DeLillo
    2013 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction
    Don DeLillo is one of America’s most celebrated writers. He has received the National Book Award (“White Noise,” 1985), a PEN/Faulkner Award (“Mao II,” 1992) and the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction (2010), among many other accolades.
  • Biography
    Philip Roth
    2012 Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction
    Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1997 for his novel “American Pastoral.” In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House, and in 2002 the Gold Medal in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
  • Biography
    Toni Morrison
    2011 Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction
    The work of Toni Morrison has gained worldwide acclaim. The 1993 Nobel Prize in literature was awarded to Morrison, “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” Her novel “Beloved” won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988.
  • Biography
    Isabel Allende
    2010 Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction
    Isabel Allende is a best-selling Chilean-American writer who was born in Lima, where her father, Tomás Allende, was Chile’s ambassador to Peru.
  • Biography
    John Grisham
    2009 Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction
    John Grisham is America’s most popular writer of legal thrillers. Since first publishing “A Time to Kill in 1988,” he has written one novel a year, and all of them have become international bestsellers.
  • Biography
    Herman Wouk
    2008 Lifetime Achievement Award for the Writing of Fiction
    Herman Wouk’s first publication was the short play “The Man in the Trench Coat” (1941), followed by “Aurora Dawn” (1947). He won the Pulitzer Prize for one of his most popular works, “The Caine Mutiny” (1951), which draws on Wouk’s experiences in the Navy during World War II.