Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism

The Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Memory of Newton Arvin is awarded annually by the University of Iowa on behalf of the estate of Truman Capote. Stipulated in the author’s will and established in 1994 by the Truman Capote Literary Trust, the $30,000 prize is the largest annual cash prize for English-language literary criticism. Winners are nominated and selected each year by a panel of distinguished judges; an awards ceremony is held annually in Iowa City.

September 30, 2024 will mark the centenary of Truman Capote's birth.

newspaper clipping

     from The New York Times, 1994

Recent Winners

Previous Winners

2017 - Gillian Beer

for Alice in Space: The Sideways Victorian World of Lewis Carroll

2016 - Kevin Birmingham

for The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses

2015 - Stanley Plumly

for The Immortal Evening: A Legendary Dinner With Keats, Wordsworth, and Lamb

2014 - Fredric Jameson

for The Antinomies of Realism

2013 - Marina Warner

for Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights

2012 - Elaine Showalter

for A Jury of Her Peers: Celebrating American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx

2011 - Mark McGurl

for The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing

2010 - Seth Lerer

for Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter

2009 - Geoffrey Hill

for Collected Critical Writings

2008 - Helen Small

for The Long Life

2007 - William H. Gass

for A Temple of Texts

2006 - Geoffrey Hartman

for The Geoffrey Hartman Reader

2005 - Angus Fletcher

for A New Theory for American Poetry

2004 - Susan Stewart

for Poetry and the Fate of the Senses

2003 - Seamus Heaney

for Finders Keepers: Selected Prose, 1971-2001

2002 - Declan Kiberd

for Irish Classics

2001 - Malcolm Bowie

for Proust Among the Stars

2000 - Elaine Scarry & Philip Fisher

for Dreaming by the Book

Still the New World: American Literature in a Culture of Creative Destruction

for 1999 - Charles Rosen

Romantic Poets, Critics, and Other Madmen

1998 - John Kerrigan

for Revenge Tragedy: Aeschylus to Armageddon

1997 - John Felstiner

for Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew

1996 - Helen Vendler

for The Given and the Made: Strategies of Poetic Redefinition

1995 - P.N. Furbank

for Diderot