In 1961, Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction after being on the bestseller list for more than 40 weeks. The name of this book award was changed from its original title, Pulitzer Prize for Novel, in 1947, and it has been given for exceptional works of fiction written by American authors since 1918. Recipients of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction often focus on themes in American life, and the honest, if sometimes uncomfortable, account of life in the South reported in "To Kill a Mockingbird" certainly meets this criteria.
Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews
"To Kill a Mockingbird" also won the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1961. The National Conference of Christians and Jews, renamed the National Conference for Community and Justice, aims to promote harmony among members of all faiths, ethnic backgrounds and beliefs. The manner in which Atticus Finch maintains his moral fortitude in the face of prejudice and racism is a testament to what this organization's Brotherhood Award is meant to represent and honor.
Paperback of the Year
Harper Lee's first and only book was awarded the Paperback of the Year award from "Bestsellers" magazine in 1962. "To Kill a Mockingbird" gained fame quickly among literary critics, educators and young readers alike, and the demand for this book helped it land the Paperback of the Year award in only its second year of print.
Alabama Library Association Award
"To Kill a Mockingbird" won the Alabama Library Association Award in 1961. The Alabama Library Association is a non-profit organization established to ensure the welfare of the state's libraries and librarians. It is fitting that Alabama's Library Association, which is the state in which Harper Lee grew up and served as the setting for her novel, would honor "To Kill a Mockingbird" with such an award.