These Books Won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

In a shocking turn of events, the Pulitzer Prize was awarded to two novelists this year.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

The list of the latest Pulitzer Prize winners was released this week and, for the first time in the award’s 105-year history, the award for Fiction went to two novels instead of one. Both of these novels are considered historical literary pieces of fiction, and while they are drastically different in terms of subject matter and setting, both novels portray vital aspects of United States history that are captivating to dive into. It’s no wonder the Pulitzer Prize committee couldn’t help but deem both of these the best fiction books of 2023, and if we’re being honest, they should probably be added to your list of books to read before you die.

What’s the Pulitzer Prize and why is it important?

Portrait Of Publisher Joseph PulitzerMuseum of the City of New York/Getty Images

Since the first round of awards in 1917, the Pulitzer Prize is awarded by Columbia University for high achievements in writing—specifically journalism and the arts—within the United States. The categories include journalism, literature and musical composition. The prize is named after Joseph Pulitzer, a famous newspaper publisher from the late 1800s, who established provisions for this particular prize in his will.

What won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2023?

This year, the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was awarded to the following two novels:

  • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Trust by Hernan Diaz

Demon Copperhead borrows its storyline from Charles Dicken’s famous work David Copperfield, following the story of an orphan boy named Damon through his trials of “foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves and crushing losses,” set in the mountains of southern Appalachia. The book was published by Harper.

Trust follows the enthralling tale of husband and wife Benjamin and Helen Rask, a wealthy couple from the 1920s that watches as their days of prestige and wealth come to a close during the recession. The novel analyzes a competing narrative of another popular novel of this time, and captivates readers with twists and turns, putting readers on a quest for the truth of what is considered fact and what is fiction. The book was published by Riverhead Books and was even chosen as one of former President Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2022.

Interested in discovering other incredible works of fiction? Join the free Reader’s Digest Book Club for great reads, monthly discussions, author Q&As and a community of book lovers.


Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a journalist and content strategist with a main focus on nutrition, health and wellness coverage. She holds an MA in Journalism from DePaul University and a Nutrition Science certificate from Stanford Medicine. Her work has been featured in publications including Taste of Home, Reader's Digest, Bustle, Buzzfeed, INSIDER, MSN, Eat This, Not That! and more.