2023 Award-Winning Books to Add to Your 2024 TBR

There were so many incredible books released this year. As 2023 comes to a close, we’re bringing you the award-winning titles you won’t want to miss out on. Keep reading for more!

Adult Fiction Fiction New Release Non-Fiction Recommendations
A First Time For Everything cover by Dan Santat, Yellowface cover by R.F. Kuang, and Prophet Song cover by Paul Lynch under a spotlight and surrounded by confetti.

This year saw the release of many groundbreaking and award-winning books across a multitude of genres and categories. With 2023 just around the corner, Bookstr is reflecting on the best titles of the year, and we wanted to bring you a list of 2023 releases you absolutely have to pick up in the new year. If you haven’t already read these books, they should be at the top of your 2024 TBR. Read on to learn why!

Kirkus Prize

The Kirkus Prize is an annual award given to books of exceptional merit in three categories: fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature. Each winner is selected by a panel of jurors made up of writers, librarians, booksellers, book critics, editors, and other industry professionals. Here are this year’s winners!

Fiction: The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store cover by James McBride, a boy holding an orange ball under his arm.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store tells the story of the small town of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and the secrets kept by its residents in the early 1970s. The jurors selected this book because of its hopeful and warm tone, as well as its insightful examination of prejudice in the United States.

Nonfiction: Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino” by Héctor Tobar

Our Migrant Souls cover by Héctor Tobar, an orange bird on a white background.

Our Migrant Souls is a personal and historical account of what it means to be Latino in the United States right now. The jurors chose this book because of the nuanced way it handled the discussion of Latino identity and how it was able to portray the diversity that exists within this marginalized community.

Young Readers’ Literature: America Redux: Visual Stories From Our Dynamic History by Ariel Aberg-Riger

America Redux cover by Ariel Aberg-Riger, the Statue of Liberty's arm holding the torch with a collage of colorful images in the flames.

America Redux is a critical and honest retelling of American history that delivers a glimmer of hope for future generations. The jurors picked this book because of its inclusiveness and refusal to shy away from difficult topics, as well as the way it regards young adults as wise, thoughtful, and passionate individuals.

Goodreads Choice Awards

The Goodreads Choice Awards honor the best books of the past year. The winners are decided by readers, who can vote for their favorite titles in 15 different categories on the Goodreads website. Check out some of this year’s winners below!

Best Fiction: Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

Yellowface cover by R.F. Kuang, a pair of eyes and eyebrows on a yellow background.

Yellowface tells the story of June Hayward, a white author pretending to be Asian in order to sell a book she didn’t write and achieve her publishing dreams. Readers enjoyed the book’s satirical critique of the publishing industry, as well as Kuang’s expert balancing of gripping suspense and dark humor.

Best Debut Novel: Weyward by Emilia Hart

Weyward cover by Emilia Hart, a black bird surrounded by a menagerie of colorful plants and insects.

Weyward is the tale of three extraordinary women, each from a different century, who come into their power by discovering their connection to witchcraft and nature. Readers resonated with this book because of its themes of sisterhood and female empowerment, as well as its tight, gripping plot.

Best Nonfiction: Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond

Black background with "by America" printed in red, white, and blue.

Poverty, by America, discusses why poverty still exists in the United States despite the country’s immense wealth, revealing some hard-hitting truths about American values. Readers appreciated the way this book provoked discomfort in its audience and challenged them to confront their complicity regarding this issue.

View the full list of 2023 Goodreads Choice Award winners here.

National Book Awards

The National Book Awards recognize and celebrate the best literature published in the United States. The winners are chosen by a panel of 25 judges made up of distinguished writers, critics, booksellers, librarians, and translators. Here are the 2023 winners!

Fiction: Blackouts by Justin Torres

Blackouts cover by Justin Torres, a golden tiger peeking out from behind a black wall.

Blackouts is an inventive novel that reckons with personal histories and the nature of memory, time, and storytelling. The judges chose this book because of its brilliant blending of fact and fiction, as well as its experimental examination of the erasure of queer history from mainstream narratives.

Nonfiction: The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History by Ned Blackhawk

The Rediscovery of America cover by Ned Blackhawk, vertical string of brown feathers.

The Rediscovery of America unearths the long-ignored history of Native Americans to construct the truest account of United States history yet. The judges selected this book because of its sweeping 500-year scope, as well as the way it centers Indigenous peoples and their stories, thereby assembling a whole new understanding of American history.

Poetry: from unincorporated territory [åmot] by Craig Santos Perez

from inincorporated territory [åmot] cover by Craig Santos Perez, a flowering plant about a man holding a painted trinket.

from unincorporated territory [åmot] explores storytelling as a form of medicine or healing, drawing from the culture of the Indigenous Chamoru people of Guam, the author’s homeland. The judges chose this collection because of its unique blending of written and visual poetry and its inventive use of language.

Translated Literature: The Words That Remain by Stênio Gardel, translated by Bruna Dantas Lobato

The Words That Remain cover by Stênio Gardel, a man's shadow against a teal wall with a yellow door and window.

The Words That Remain is an incredible debut novel about an elderly Brazilian man reflecting on the ways homophobia, poverty, and illiteracy have shaped his life. The judges selected this book because of its tender honesty and its inspiring message of resilience and survival in the face of immense hardship.

Young People’s Literature: A First Time For Everything by Dan Santat

A First Time For Everything cover by Dan Santat, a young boy at the back of a group of classmates looking over his shoulder.

A First Time For Everything is a middle-grade graphic memoir about the life-changing trip to Europe the author took as a young boy. The judges picked this book because of its beautifully expressive art style, its humorous and charming vulnerability, and its sincere portrayal of the awkwardness of self-discovery and coming of age.

You can learn more about this year’s winners, finalists, and longlisted authors here.

The Booker Prize

The Book Prize is an annual award recognizing the best work of fiction written in English and published in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The winner is chosen by a panel of judges, including writers, English professors, poets, actors, and critics. Check out the 2023 winner below!

Prophet Song by Paul Lynch

Prophet Song cover by Paul Lynch, an orange sun setting behind a tall building that looms over a mother and two children.

Prophet Song tells the story of a mother’s desperate fight to keep her family together as her country descends into tyranny and war. The judges selected this book because of its unflinching depiction of a totalitarian government, its ability to translate the sheer terror of the protagonist’s circumstances to readers, and its relevance to the current political and social climate.

You can learn more about the shortlisted and longlisted titles here.

For even more award-winning writers and publications from 2023, check out the Pulitzer Prize recipients, the Nobel Prize in Literature recipient, and the fiction and nonfiction winners of the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence. You don’t want to miss out on these highly-praised 2023 titles, so add them to your TBR before the new year comes and we have even more books to get excited about!

For more 2023 roundups, click here or here.

Browse these books and more on our Bookshop 2023 Round shelf.