This award was established in 1950 to honor American books of the highest literary achievement. It is currently awarded annually in two categories: fiction and non fiction. Separate judging panels determine the winners in each category. Winning authors receive $10,000. In 1980, the name was changed to The American Book Award. After increasing controversy over categories, selections and judging, the original name was reverted to in 1987 and in 1989 the National Book Foundation was created to administer the awards. (Awards are given at the end of the year for that year's publications.) Saul Bellow's three awards are the most for any one author. John Cheever, William Faulkner, William Gaddis, Bernard Malamud, Wright Morris, Philip Roth and John Updike have each won twice.FICTION
* From 1980-85, awards were also given for best first novel by an author
** From 1980-83, separate awards were given for fiction in paperback form
*** In 1973, 1974 and 1975 two books tied for the award each year
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