First Novel Prize

The Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, known as the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize until 2015, is awarded to the best debut novel of the year. The Prize was originally established in 2005 as the John Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize. The Center for Fiction board member and well-known non-fiction author, Nancy Dunnan, now funds The Center’s First Novel Prize. It is officially called the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, named after Nancy’s journalist father, Ray W. Flaherty (description from The Center of Fiction.)

2015 Short List
  • After the Parade by Lori Ostlund
  • Against the Country by Ben Metcalf
  • Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam
  • The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
  • The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus
2015 Long List
  • The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
  • Black River by S.M. Hulse
  • City on Fire by Garth RIsk Hallberg
  • Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Find Me by Laura Van Den Berg
  • The First Bad Man by Miranda July
  • Girl at War by Sara Novic (5 stars)
  • The Girl from the Garden by Parnaz Forouton
  • Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
  • The Heart of the Order by Theo Schell-Lambert
  • The Hopeful by Tracy O'Neill (4.5 stars)
  • I'd Walk With My Friends If I Could Find Them by Jesse Goolsby
  • Landfalls by Naomi J. Williams
  • The Language of Paradise by Barbara Klein Moss
  • Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capo Crucet
  • Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian
  • She Weeps Each Time You're Born by Quan Barry
  • The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson
  • The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein
  • The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella
  • Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
  • You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman
2014 Winner
  • Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique
2014 Short List
  • The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld
  • Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson
  • The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil
  • The Invention of Exile by Vanessa Manko
  • The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson
  • We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
2014 Long List
  • The Anatomy of Dreams by Chloe Krug Benjamin
  • An Untamed State by Roxane Gay (4.5 stars)
  • Byrd by Kim Church 
  • Cementville by Paulette Livers
  • The End of Always by Randi Davenport
  • For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu 
  • The Girls from Corona Del Mar by Rufi Thorpe 
  • The Kept by James Scott 
  • Life Drawing by Robin Black 
  • Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah 
  • Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston 
  • Ruby by Cynthia Bond
  • Saint Monkey by Jacinda Townsend
  • Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler 
  • The Sixteenth of June by Maya Lang
  • The Visionist by Rachel Urquhart 
  • What Ends by Andrew Ladd 
  • The Word Exchange by Alena Gradeon 
  • Young God by Katherine Faw Morris 
2013 Winner
  • Wash by Margaret Wrinkle
2013 Short List
  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
  • Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter (4 stars)
  • Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
  • The Morels by Christopher Hacker
  • Motherlunge by Kirstin Scott
  • The Residue Years by Mitchell Jackson
  • Y by Marjorie Celona
2013 Long List
  • Any Resemblance to Actual Persons by Kevin Allardice
  • The Blood of Heaven by Kent Wascom
  • The Carriage House by Louisa Hall
  • Elders by Ryan McIlvain
  • In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell
  • The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones
  • The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski
  • Southern Cross the Dog by Bill Cheng
  • Tampa by Alissa Nutting (5 stars)
  • A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri
  • The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma
  • Wise Men by Stuart Nadler
  • The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
  • You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt
2012 Winner
2012 Short List
  • Absolution by Patrick Flanery
  • Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
  • The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
  • Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman
  • Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead (4.5 stars)
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
  • The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (4.5 stars)
2011 Winner
  • Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam (5 stars)
2011 Short List
  • Caribou Island by David Vann
  • Daughters of the Revolution by Carolyn Cooke
  • The History of History by Ida Hattemer-Higgins
  • Shards by Ismet Prcic
  • The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein (5 stars)
  • Touch by Alexi Zentner
2010 Winner
  • Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
2010 Short List
  • Beneath the Lion's Gaze by Maaza Mengiste
  • The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (4.5 stars)
  • Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross
  • The Quickening by Michelle Hoover (4 stars)
  • The Report by Jessica Francis Kane
  • This Is Just Exactly Like You by Drew Perry Viking
2009 Winner
  • Woodsburner by John Pipkin
2009 Short List
  • American Rust by Philipp Meyer
  • The Cradle by Patrick Somerville
  • Tinkers by Paul Harding (4.5 stars)
  • The Vagrants by Yiyun Li
2008 Winner
  • The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
2008 Short List
  • The Story of Forgetting by Stefan Merrill Block
  • Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen
  • Dervishes by Beth Helms
  • Songs for the Butcher's Daughter by Peter Manseau
  • Personal Days by Ed Park
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (5 stars)
Before 2008, the Flaherty-Dunnan Prize was known as The John Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize

2007 Winner
2007 Short List
  • Bearing the Body by Ehud Havazelet
  • Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski
  • Finn by Jon Clinch
  • Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcon
  • The Ministry of Special Cases by Nathan Englander
  • Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
2006 Winner
  • Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
2006 Short List
  • The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo by Peter Orner
  • The Dissident by Nell Freudenberger
  • Cellophane by Marie Arana
  • Send Me by Patrick Ryan

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