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The Best Pulitzer Prize Winning Novels

Updated February 10, 2020 9.7k votes 1.8k voters 65.1k views62 items

Next on your reading list: something from this list of the best Pulitzer Prize-winning novels. These are essentially the greatest books of fiction in the history of literature. Are you looking to buy a collection of the best novels of all time? According to the most prestigious prize out there, this list contains every single book deserving of such a title. Men and women can read these Pulitzer Prize winners to bed every night. Some of them are even appropriate for young adults or even younger, such as Harper Lee's famed To Kill A Mockingbird.

Speaking of Mockingbird, you will notice something interesting as you peruse this list of the best Pulitzer Prize-winning novels of all time. So many of these winners for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction have been turned, or are currently being turned into, major motion pictures. It is clear that movie producers in Hollywood know when there is a good story that could garner critical claim with an adapted screenplay.

This list of all novels that won the Pulitzer Prize includes beloved classes like The Color Purple, The Old Man and the Sea, and Lonesome Dove. Other newer titles on the list, like Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and Jerry Eugenides's Middlesex are prime examples of modern literature that you should add to your book collection - if you haven't already. This Pulitzer Prize fiction list is guaranteed to keep your turning pages all day long.
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  • To Kill a Mockingbird (1961)1

    First Published1960-07-11

    SubjectsMonarch, Literary, Literature, Classics, Drama

    Genres (Book)Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Grapes of Wrath (1940)2
    204
    44

    First Published1939

    SubjectsCalifornia, Great Depression in the United States, Dust Bowl, Oklahoma

    Genres (Book)Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Grapes of Wrath is an American realist novel written by John Steinbeck and published in... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Color Purple (1983)3
    300
    149

    First Published1982

    SubjectsFeminism

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Epistolary novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Old Man and the Sea (1953)4
    294
    152

    First Published1952

    SubjectsOcean, Fishing, Friendship, Cuba

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Fiction, Novella, Sea story

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Old Man and the Sea is a novel written by the American author Ernest Hemingway in 1951 in... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Road (2007)5
    250
    132

    The Road (2007)

    Cormac McCarthy

    First Published2006-09-26

    SubjectsSurvival skills, Literary, Adventure, United States of America

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Fiction, Literary fiction, Science Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Road is a 2006 novel by American writer Cormac McCarthy. It is a post-apocalyptic tale of... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #32 of 154 The Greatest American Novels#153 of 1,235 The Best Novels Ever Written

  • Lonesome Dove (1986)6
    277
    111

    Lonesome Dove (1986)

    Larry McMurtry

    First Published1985

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Lonesome Dove is a 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning western novel written by Larry McMurtry. It is... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Beloved (1988)7
    179
    103

    Beloved (1988)

    Toni Morrison

    First Published1987-01

    SubjectsLiterary, Ohio, 19th century, Slavery, Spanish Language

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Historical fiction, Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Beloved is a 1987 novel by the American writer Toni Morrison. Set after the American Civil... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Caine Mutiny (1952)8
    124
    63

    First Published1951

    SubjectsLiterature, Classics, Military, United States of America, World War II

    Genres (Book)Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Caine Mutiny is a 1951 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel by Herman Wouk. The novel grew out of... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #243 of 331 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time#12 of 101 The Best Novels About World War 2

  • The Killer Angels: A Novel of the Civil War (1975)9

    First Published1974

    SubjectsLiterary, Pennsylvania, Literature, Classics, Battle of Gettysburg

    Genres (Book)War novel, Historical fiction, Fiction, Historical novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Killer Angels is a historical novel by Michael Shaara that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • A Confederacy of Dunces (1981)10
    199
    133

    First Published1980

    SubjectsPopular literature, Literary, Classics, French Quarter, New Orleans

    Genres (Book)Tragicomedy, Fiction, Comedy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel by American novelist John Kennedy Toole which... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Middlesex (2003)11
    164
    101

    Middlesex (2003)

    Jeffrey Eugenides

    First Published2002-10-07

    SubjectsLiterary

    Genres (Book)Transgender and transsexual fiction, Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Middlesex is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Jeffrey Eugenides published in 2002. The book... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Shipping News (1994)12
    161
    100

    First Published1993

    SubjectsTragedy, Death, Love, Newfoundland

    Genres (Book)Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Shipping News is a novel by American author E. Annie Proulx, published by Charles... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2001)13

    First Published2000-09-19

    SubjectsLiterary

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Historical fiction, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a 2000 novel by Jewish American author Michael... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • All the Light We Cannot See (2015)14
    Amazon buy button
  • Gone with the Wind (1937)15
    130
    52

    Gone with the Wind (1937)

    Margaret Mitchell

    First Published1936-06-30

    SubjectsWomen, Plantations in the American South, United States of America, American Civil War, History

    Genres (Book)Historical fiction, Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Gone with the Wind is a novel written by Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. The story... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Empire Falls (2002)16
    115
    79

    Empire Falls (2002)

    Richard Russo

    First Published2001-05-08

    SubjectsWorking class, Adventure, Fathers and Daughters, Maine

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Empire Falls is a 2001 novel written by Richard Russo. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Age of Innocence (1921)17

    First Published1920

    SubjectsLiterary, Upper class, Marriage, Education, Literature

    Genres (Book)Romance novel, Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton's twelfth novel, initially serialized in four parts in... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Interpreter of Maladies (2000)18

    First Published1999

    SubjectsLiterary, Indian American, Self-help, Culture of India

    Genres (Book)Anthology, Fiction, Short story

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Interpreter of Maladies is a book collection of nine short stories by Indian American author... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Hours (1999)19
    121
    81

    The Hours (1999)

    Michael Cunningham

    First Published1998

    SubjectsWomen

    Genres (Book)Drama, Parallel novel, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Hours is a 1998 novel written by Michael Cunningham. It won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Goldfinch20
    109
    52

    The Goldfinch

    Donna Tartt

    First PublishedOct 22 2013

    The Goldfinch is the third novel from Donna Tartt, her first in 11 years. In February 2013,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Angle of Repose (1972)21
    71
    56

    Angle of Repose (1972)

    Wallace Stegner

    First Published1971

    SubjectsCalifornia, Adultery

    Genres (Book)Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Angle of Repose is a 1971 novel by Wallace Stegner about a wheelchair-using historian, Lyman... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • American Pastoral (1998)22

    First Published1997-05-12

    SubjectsLiterary, Family, United States of America, History

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    American Pastoral is a Philip Roth novel published in 1997 concerning Seymour "Swede" Levov, a... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Executioner's Song (1980)23

    First Published1979

    Genres (Book)Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Executioner's Song is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Norman Mailer that depicts the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • All the King's Men24
    54
    20

    All the King's Men

    Robert Penn Warren

    First Published1946

    SubjectsPolitician, Election, Political corruption

    Genres (Book)Political fiction

    Original LanguageAmerican English, English Language

    All the King's Men is a novel by Robert Penn Warren first published in 1946. Its title is... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Olive Kitteridge (2009)25
    109
    82

    Olive Kitteridge (2009)

    Elizabeth Strout

    First Published2008-03-25

    SubjectsMaine

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Olive Kitteridge is a book by Elizabeth Strout.Amazon buy button