The Prizewinner Challenge

I set myself this task a couple of years back: to read a prize-winning novel for every year since literary prizes have been awarded.  Since then I’ve made very little progress, but several titles are now on the Classics Club list so I’m a lot more hopeful.

The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded in 1918.  In the United Kingdom the earliest awards were the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Hawthornden Prize – both awarded from 1919.  All three awards continue to be made annually to this day, and of course there are several more well-known awards that began subsequent to these pioneers.

I’m keen to see how these books and authors have withstood the passing years; whether there are discernible patterns in the choices of prize-winners that perhaps are reflected in the current affairs of their time; and of course, how these books land on me reading them now, in the present.

Although there are already a number I’ve read from more recent years, I’m starting from the beginning.  Here’s what I have planned at the moment – up to 1930:

Titles in blue: currently reading

Titles in green: upcoming reads

Titles in sky blue: read and awaiting reviews


1918     His Family                                         Ernest Poole                      Pulitzer

1919     The Secret City                                  Hugh Walpole                    James Tait Black

1920     The Lost Girl                                     D H Lawrence                    James Tait Black

1921     The Death of Society                         Romer Wilson                    James Tait Black

1922     Lady into Fox                                     David Garnett                        James Tait Black

1923     Riceyman Steps                                 Arnold Bennett                  James Tait Black

1924     A Passage to India                            E M Forster                        James Tait Black

1925     The Informer                                    Liam O’Flaherty                 James Tait Black

1926     The Land                                           Vita Sackville-West               Hawthornden

1927     Tarka the Otter                                  Henry Williamson              Hawthornden

1928     Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man      Siegfried Sassoon            Tait Black & Hawthornden

1929     The Good Companions                      J B Priestley                      James Tait Black

1930     Miss Mole                                          E H Young                                James Tait Black



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