According to New York Magazine, this is how you can win the Oscars of the publishing world in five easy steps:
1. Don't be a young debut novelist
2. Do Aim for World-Historical Significance
3. Don't Write Short Stories
4. Do Be a Literary Insider
5. Do Expand Your Demo(graphic)
I haven't read it yet, but this year's front runner and eventual winner is Denis Johnson for Tree of Smoke, a Vietnam War novel. Everyone expected him to win anyway, as he got 3 of the 5 easy steps. I had read a couple of his short stories anthologized in Best of collections, and Jesus' Son sounds interesting.