Our past

finalists & winners

of The Prize.

The industry's most talented
Selected by our national panel of judges

The Hall of Fame.

With more than 20+ years of legacy, the "Thurber Halls" are lined with incredible authors from around the country. To learn more about our past finalists and winners, check them out below.

*More author profiles coming soon.*

More Past Finalists & Winners
Note: The Thurber Prize for American Humor was not awarded in 1998, 2000, or 2003. It became an annual award in 2004.

Deacon King Kong book cover

2021 | The 21st Thurber Prize

2021 WINNER:

James McBride, Deacon King Kong


Mike Birbiglia, The New One: Painfully True Stories from a Reluctant Dad

Alexandra Petri: Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why

What Doesn't Kill You Makes you Blacker book cover

2020 | The 20th Thurber Prize

2020 WINNER:

Damon Young, What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker


Dave Barry, Lessons from Lucy

Kira Jane Buxton, Hollow Kingdom

Hits & Misses book cover

2019 | The 19th Thurber Prize

2019 WINNER:

Simon Rich, Hits & Misses


Sloane Crosley, Look Alive Out There

John Kenney, Love Poems for Married People

Priestdaddy book cover

2018 | The 18th Thurber Prize

2018 WINNER:

Patricia Lockwood, Priestdaddy


Jenny Allen, Would Everybody Please Stop?: Reflections on Life and Other Bad Ideas

John Hodgman, Vactionland: True Stories from Painful Beaches

Born a Crime book cover

2017 | The 17th Thurber Prize

2017 WINNER:

Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood


Ken Pisani, Amp'd

Aaron Thier, Mr. Eternity

The World's Largest Man book cover

2016 | The 16th Thurber Prize

2016 WINNER:

Harrison Scott Key, The World's Largest Man


Jason Gay, Little Victories

Mary Norris, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

Dear Committee Members book cover

2015 | The 15th Thurber Prize

2015 WINNER:

Julie Schumacher, Dear Committee Members


Roz Chast, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Annabelle Gurwitch, I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50

Truth In Advertising book cover

2014 | The 14th Thurber Prize

2014 WINNER:

John Kenney, Truth in Advertising


Liza Donnelly, Women on Men

Bruce McCall and David Letterman, This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me)

Dan Gtes a Minivan book cover

2013 | The 13th Thurber Prize

2013 WINNER:

Dan Zevin, Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad


Shalom Auslander, Hope, A Tragedy

Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel, Lunatics: A Novel

Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin book cover

2012 | The 12th Thurber Prize

2012 WINNER:

Calvin Trillin, Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of Funny Stuff


Nate DiMeo and the creative team of Parks and Recreation, Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America

Patricia Marx, Starting From Happy

Half Empty book cover

2011 | The 11th Thurber Prize

2011 WINNER:

David Rakoff, Half Empty


Rick Reilly, Sports from Hell

Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk with Me

How I became a Famous Novelist book cover

2010 | The 10th Thurber Prize

2010 WINNER:

Steve Hely, How I Became a Famous Novelist


Jancee Dunn, Why Is My Mother Getting a Tattoo

Rhoda Janzen, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

Lamentations of The Father book cover

2009 | The 9th Thurber Prize

2009 WINNER:

Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father


Sloane Crosley, I Was Told There'd Be Cake

Don Lee, Wrack and Ruin

Laurie Notaro, The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death

I Love You Beth Cooper book cover

2008 | The 8th Thurber Prize

2008 WINNER:

Larry Doyle, I Love You, Beth Cooper


Patricia Marx, Him Her Him Again The End of Him

Simon Rich, Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations

My Lucky Star book cover

2007 | The 7th Thurber Prize

2007 WINNER:

Joe Keenan, My Lucky Star


Merrill Markoe, Walking in Circles Before Lying Down

Bob Newhart, I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This and Other Things That Strike Me Funny

The Other Shulman book cover

2006 | The 6th Thurber Prize

2006 WINNER:

Alan Zweibel, The Other Shulman


Bill Scheft, Time Won’t Let Me

Kinky Friedman, Texas Hold ‘Em

America (the book) book cover

2005 | The 5th Thurber Prize

2005 WINNER:

Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show, America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction


Andy Borowitz, The Borowitz Report: The Big Book of Shockers

Firoozeh Dumas, Funny in Farsi

No Way To Treat A First Lady book cover

2004| The 4th Thurber Prize

2004 WINNER:

Christopher Buckley, No Way to Treat a First Lady


Robert Kaplow, Me and Orson Welles

Dan Zevin, The Day I Turned Uncool

Me Talk Pretty One Day book cover

2001 | The 3rd Thurber Prize

2001 WINNER:

David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day


Henry Alford, Big Kiss


Andy Borowitz, The Trillionaire Next Door

Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country

Brett Leveridge, Men My Mother Dated

Jim Mullen, It Takes a Village Idiot

Our Dumb Century book cover

1999 | The 2nd Thurber Prize

1999 WINNER:

The editors of The Onion, Our Dumb Century: 100 Years of Headlines from America’s Finest News Source  

Coyote vs. Acme book cover

1997 | The 1st Thurber Prize

1997 WINNER:

Ian Frazier, Coyote v. Acme


David Sedaris, Naked

Al Franken, Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations

Get inspired by the industry greats.

We've got the answers to your questions

How many finalists are there?

We have three finalists each year out of the hundreds of submissions that we receive from authors all across the country. From indie self-pubs to best-selling authors and everything in between, these writers try their chance at taking home the coveted Thurber Prize each year. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just getting started in the field, this award show is made by and for the industry to celebrate the very best in humor writing.

What will happen at the live show?

The live award show on April 28, 2023 in Columbus, OH allows you to see the finalists read and be awarded in real time. The show is also jam-packed with music, dance, and comedy to give you an unforgettable evening of humor.

How does the judging process work?

Shhh... The judging process is top-secret... Just kidding. Any author from around the country with a qualifying book is able to submit their work for consideration. Once submissions close for the year, our panel of national judges quickly gets to work reading and scoring each book. This process is done in two rounds of judging which gives us our top six to seven, top three, then eventually our winner who is awarded the evening of the show.

Who will be at the live show?

Each year, the live show is attended by industry professionals, humor and/or writing enthusiasts, fans-of-the-authors, and many other people who just want to have a good time!

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