The Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize

The Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize is awarded to the best debut novel published between January 1st and December 31st of the award year. The author of the winning book receives $10,000 and each shortlisted author receives $1,000. The Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize was originally established in 2006 as the John Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize. The Prize is in honor of  Center for Fiction board member and well-known non-fiction author, the late Nancy Dunnan, and her journalist father, Ray W. Flaherty. ABOUT RAY FLAHERTY


Announcing the Short List

We're pleased to announce our short list for this year's Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. The short-listed writers will read from their books on the evening of December 8th at the Center for Fiction and the 2014 winner will be announced on the evening of December 9th at The Center for Fiction’s Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner in New York City, where last year’s First Novel Prize winner, Margaret Wrinkle, will present the award. Judges this year are Margaret Wrinkle, David Gilbert, and Tayari Jones. VIEW THE Short LIST



Tickets Now on Sale for the 2014 First Novel Fête!

Dec. 8, 6:30pm


Monday, December 8th is The Center For Fiction's First Novel  Fête, one of the great literary holiday parties in New York City. Enjoy readings by all of our 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize finalists, with a cocktail party to follow! 
FIND OUT more and purchase tickets

Winner of the 2013 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize


We are thrilled to announce that Margaret Wrinkle has been awarded the 2013 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize for her debut novel, Wash (Atlantic Monthly Press)Last year's winner, Ben Fountain, presented the award to her at our Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner on December 11 at The Union League Club. Read her acceptance speech here


Wash reexamines American slavery in ways that challenge contemporary assumptions about race, power, history and healing. Published by Atlantic Monthly Press, Wash is a New York Times Editors’ Choice, an O, The Oprah Magazine top ten books to pick up now, and a People magazine 4 star pick. It was nominated for the Crook’s Corner Prize for debut Southern novel.


Margaret Wrinkle was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, and earned a BA and MA from Yale University. She has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute and lives in rural New Mexico.

Past Winners of the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize


Previous winners include Ben Fountain for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Bonnie Nadzam for Lamb, and Karl Marlantes for Matterhorn. For a list of all past winners, please visit our PREVIOUS Winners PAGE