Declared by writer Joanna Walsh as 'the year of reading women', 2014 was a remarkable year for today's female authors. Last year's knock out book The Goldfinch earned author Donna Tartt the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, while three young up-and-comers received recognition from The Women's Prize for Fiction. The trio of debut novelists that included Eimear McBride, Hannah Kent, and Audrey Magee, made the 2014 Women's Prize short list alongside veterans Tartt, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The award went to Eimear McBride for her first novel, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing.
McBride wasn't the only new author to win big in 2014. First-time writers popped up on many of 2014's award lists, even winning. The National Book Award for Fiction went to Phil Klay for his first book of stories, Redeployment, and Canada's Giller Prize went Sean Michaels for his debut novel Us Conductors, while Ann Leckie took home the Hugo Award for her debut, Ancillary Justice. We didn't consider writers' careers or previous works when we compiled our list of notable reads, and in the end many are from industry newbies. We may not be familiar with the names Celeste Ng, Jeff Hobbs, Matthew Thomas and Lena Dunham now, but we will be soon enough.
While it may have been an exceptional year for the rookies, literary mainstays Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, and Hilary Mantel released new books in 2014 - King actually released two. Rowling released a second book under her male pseudonym Robert Galbraith, after being outed in 2013. The cat out of the bag, Galbraith/Rowling made a live appearance at Harrogate's annual Crime Writing Festival in July. Creating quite a media buzz, Rowling - wearing a smart suit and tie - announced that she, er, Galbraith, would write many more Cormoran Strike novels. Meanwhile, Mantel made British headlines for quite another kind of announcement. Known for her epic historical novels, Mantel caused an uproar when she admitted her new short story, The Assasination of Margaret Thatcher: August 6th, 1983, was inspired by a day in her own life in 1983 when she spied then Prime Minister Thatcher and fantasized about killing her. Despite the controversy, Mantel's new story collection of the same title was indeed one of the biggest books of the year.
Look back on an incredible literary year with our list of the top fiction and non-fiction books, a review of the big award winners, and a tribute to the authors we lost in 2014.
These are the books that had literary critics writing rave reviews in 2014. They've climbed to the top of every reader's choice list and the bestseller charts. Some are from veteran pros, and others are from literature's newest names. Regardless, here are the best fiction books of 2014.
Karen Joy Fowler
Sue Monk Kidd
Emily St. John Mandel
From the Pulizter Prize to the Newberry Medal, here are the books that won the industry's most prestigious awards.
The National Book Award for Fiction
The Man Booker Prize
Nobel Prize for Literature
Women's Prize for Fiction
Hugo Award for Best Novel
Governor General’s Award for Fiction
The Miles Franklin Award
The Newberry Medal
National Book Award for Young People's Literature
National Book Award for Non-Fiction
From Lena Dunham to Tennessee Williams to Wall Street, here are the memoirs, biographies, business, and history books that created the biggest buzz in 2014.
2014 saw the passing of some of litearture's biggest heroes, including Nobel Prize-winners Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Nadine Gordimer, and three-time National Book Award-winner Peter Matthiessen. Matthiessen's final book, In Paradise, was published just three days after his death in April of 2014. We also bid farewell to Canadian author Farley Mowat, crime fiction pioneer P.D. James, creator of the beloved Adrian Mole books Sue Townsend, Hugo Award-winner Daniel Keyes, and romantic-mystery writer Mary Stewart.
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Often, a book can go unnoticed until rumours of a movie-version surface. When the rumours start, the book sales creep up until the title becomes a bestseller. The Fault In Our Stars was published in 2012, but thanks to its silver screen edition, it was one of the most talked-about books of 2014. In the case of The Giver, first released in 1993, the 2014 movie gave a classic new life.