The Most Coveted Literary Awards in the World

All writers want to be recognized for their hard work. After all, winning an award for one’s work can boost motivation and creativity. A book award is special because it can propel an author’s book into the bestseller territory. It gets you priceless opportunities of reaching out to the media, booksellers and agents. Who wouldn’t want to work with an ‘award winning author’? Thousands of book awards are given out across the globe every year and millions of writers submit their entries in the hope of winning these awards. There are national and global awards. They often have various different categories, including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, children’s literature and fantasy. But some awards only consider some of these categories.

Here is a list of the top most prestigious literary awards in the world.

1. National Book Awards

Each November, the National Book Awards recognizes the best of American literature. First awarded in year 1950, the award consists of several different categories including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and young people’s literature. The National Book Foundation was later established in year 1988 to further enhance the National Book Awards alongside two other lifetime achievements awards for authors which are the Medal for Distinguished Contribution and Literarian Award for Outstanding Service. The books for the NBAs are only nominated by the publishers and the NBA panel is comprised of the writers, librarians, booksellers and literary critics. The finalists of National Book Awards receives $1000, a medal and a citation written by the panel whereas the winners are entitled to win $10000 and a bronze sculpture.

2. Man Booker Prize

The Man Booker Prize also previously known as The Booker Prize is awarded annually to the best original English novelist in UK. Winners of The Man Booker Prize are commonly assured international success. The past winners of this award include Hilary Mantel for Bring Up the Bodies, Margaret Atwood for Blind Assassin, Kazuo Ishiguro for The Remains of the Day and William Golding for Rites of Passage. The prize was invested in by The Man Group since 2005, thus renaming the award to The Man Booker Prize. It holds the awarding ceremony every two years. The Man Booker Prize used to only accept and award the literary works from Commonwealth, Zimbabwe and Ireland. However, since year 2014, the eligibility of the International prize was widened to literary works that are written in English language. An author is allowed to only win once.

3. Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer Prize was first established in the year 1917 by the provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer. The prize is awarded to writers honoring their excellence particularly in newspaper, magazine, online journalism, literature and musical composition in the United States. There are 21 categories in total including the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing, the Pulitzer Prize for Music, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting. The Pulitzer Prize only considers works that are specifically entered and each entry is charged $50. The Pulitzer Prize winners receives a certificate and a US$15000 cash prize. Some of the notable Pulitzer Prize winners are Nelson Harding, Stanley Forman and Andrew Schneider.

4. Hugo Award

Hugo Award was named in honor of Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories. It seeks to recognize the top science fiction or fantasy writers. The award has been lauded as “among the highest honors bestowed in science fiction and fantasy writing”. The design of the trophy was created by Jack McKnight and Ben Jason based on the 1950s cars’ hood ornaments design. The Hugo Award which is given away at the yearly World Science Fiction Convention consists of several different categories that have changed over the years. Some of the categories includes Best Graphic Story, Best Novelette, Best Fanzine, Best Fancast, Best Professional Artist, Best Related Work and Best Dramatic Presentation. Philip K.Dick, Neil Gaiman and Clifford D.Simak are among the previous winners of the awards which were unveiled in year 1953. There are no monetary prizes given for the Hugo Award, except for the trophy.

5. Nobel Prize in Literature

The Nobel Prize in Literature has been given away every year since 1901, in the remembrance of Alfred Novel. The Nobel Prize in Literature is one of the five Nobel Prizes that was established in the words of the will of Alfred Nobel. It is awarded to the best authors from all around the world. The nominations for the award is sent out by the Swedish Academy each year. The winning author receives a medal along with a diploma bearing a citation and a monetary prize, the value of which varies every year. Some of the past laureates includes playwright Harold Pinter, novelist Gao Xingjian, poet Seamus Heaney and novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

6. Costa Book Awards

Costa Book Awards was inaugurated in 1971 as the Whitbread Book Awards. In 2006, Costa Coffee offered sponsorship for the award thereby renaming it to Costa Book Awards. The award recognizes the authors who are based in either Britain or Ireland for works written in the English language. There are five book award categories including novel, first novel, children’s book, poetry and biography. Each of the five winners are entitled to to get a monetary prize worth 5000 British pounds. One of the winners is then also awarded the Costa Book of the Year title. The award does not only recognizes brilliant works but also works that are enjoyable to read with an aim to popularize reading as a delightful activity.

7. Neustadt International Prize for Literature

The Neustadt Prize was unveiled in 1969 in US and was founded by Ivar Ivask, called then as Books Abroad International Prize for Literature. Ivar Ivask was the editor of the Books Abroad. The prize is funded by Walter and Neustadt and is further subsidized by the University of Oklahoma. This American award which is awarded every two years recognizes authors for their excellence in drama, poetry and fiction. The winning individual gets a silver eagle feather, a certificate and monetary prize worth of $50,000. Notable previous Neustadt prize winners include novelist Nuruddin Farah, playwright Max Rudolf Frisch and poet Joao Cabral de Melo Neto.

By Marielyn Selvarajah 

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