Guardian First Book Award

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The Guardian first book award

It was established in 1999 to reward the finest new literary talent with a £10,000 prize for an author's first book. Now in its sixth year, the award is open to writing across all genres. It is unique among book awards as debut works of fiction are judged alongside those of non-fiction.

The judging panel, chaired by the Guardian's literary editor Claire Armitstead, will award the winning author with £10,000 and an advertising package within the Guardian and Observer. A series of regional reading groups, run through Waterstone's bookstores, assisted the judges in making their final selection of shortlisted works.

The Guardian Fiction Award

(Guardian First Book Award)

Awarded since 1965 by the Guardian, this prize is worth £10,000 to the winner. The selection is made by a panel of critics and writers, chaired by the Literary Editor of the Guardian. This is the oldest and best-established of the awards sponsored by a newspaper; sponsorship by one newspaper has a somewhat negative effect on publicity since other newspapers are less willing to publicize the winner than they are for prizes such as the Booker or Somerset Maugham which are underwritten by businesses or endowments and administered by the Book Trust or Society of Authors. In 1999 the prize was altered. It is now the Guardian First Book Award, and is no longer restricted to fiction.



  • Dinaw Mengestu, Children of the Revolution (2007) (Jonathan Cape)


  • Catherine O'Flynn, What Was Lost (2007)(Tindal Street Press)
  • God's Architect by Rosemary Hill (Allen Lane)
  • Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran (Harvill
  • A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam (John Murray)


  • St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell (Chatto & Windus)
  • Look We Have Coming to Dover! by Daljit Nagra (Faber)
  • Live Working or Die Fighting by Paul Mason (Harvill Secker)
  • Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris (Viking)
  • A Guinea Pig's History of Biology by Jim Endersby (Heinemann)



  • Guardian First Book Award
  • This link also shows a list of all winners since 1965
  • Click here to read about the winners. The winner receives €10,000 and €1,000 in books donated to the school of the winner's choice.