In honor of the Pulitzer Prize announcement, I thought I would list the fiction winners for the last 17 years. These are good books to add to your collection. You’ll want the first printings whenever possible, and preferably you want covers that don’t yet have any awards stickers.
As with most books, if you want to check the value, head over to Abebooks and do a quick search for the author, title, and specify first edition (& hardcover in most cases).
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winners
2017: The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)
For a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.
Signed first printings worth up to $350 USD // Unsigned first printings worth up to $95.
2016: The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press)
A layered immigrant tale told in the wry, confessional voice of a “man of two minds” — and two countries, Vietnam and the United States.
Signed first printings worth up to $650 USD // Unsigned first printings worth up to $185.
2015: All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr (Scribner)
An imaginative and intricate novel inspired by the horrors of World War II and written in short, elegant chapters that explore human nature and the contradictory power of technology.
Signed first printings worth up to $400 USD // Unsigned first printings worth up to $150.
2014: The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown)
A beautifully written coming-of-age novel with exquisitely drawn characters that follows a grieving boy’s entanglement with a small famous painting that has eluded destruction, a book that stimulates the mind and touches the heart.
Signed first printing worth up to $900 USD // Unsigned first printings worth up to $175.
2013: The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson (Random House)
An exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.
Signed first printings worth up to $350 USD // Unsigned printings worth up to $125.
2012: No award given
2011: A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan (Alfred A.. Knopf)
An inventive investigation of growing up and growing old in the digital age, displaying a big-hearted curiosity about cultural change at warp speed.
Signed first printings worth about $350 USD // Unsigned first printings worth up to $75.
2010: Tinkers, by Paul Harding (Bellevue Literary Press)
A powerful celebration of life in which a New England father and son, through suffering and joy, transcend their imprisoning lives and offer new ways of perceiving the world and mortality.
Signed first printings worth between $950-$2,000 USD // Unsigned first printings worth up to $140.
2009: Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout (Random House)
A collection of 13 short stories set in small-town Maine that packs a cumulative emotional wallop, bound together by polished prose and by Olive, the title character, blunt, flawed and fascinating.
Signed first printings worth up to $225 USD // Unsigned first printings worth up to $125.
2008: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz (Riverhead Books)
Signed first printings worth up to $325 USD // Unsigned first printings worth up to $75
2007: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (Alfred A. Knopf)
2006: March, by Geraldine Brooks (Viking)
2005: Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar)
2004: The Known World, by Edward P. Jones (Amistad/ HarperCollins)
2003: Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar)
2002: Empire Falls, by Richard Russo (Alfred A. Knopf)
2001: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon (Random House)
Signed first printing worth up to $550 USD // Unsigned first printing worth up to $150.
2000: Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri (Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin)
Signed first printing worth up to $285 // Unsigned first printing worth up to $100.
*The values shown are based on listings at the time of this post. For more information on any of the titles, click on the links and you’ll be taken to Abebooks.com where you can read more about the condition and see images of the books. As with anything, condition matters.
And for a more complete list, you can check out Pulitzer Prize winners by category at the Pulitzer Prize website.