Junot Diaz, a 40-year-old native of the Dominican Republican who moved to New Jersey as a boy, won the fiction prize for "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao."
Daniel Walker Howe won for history for "What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848."
Howe, a professor emeritus at Oxford and UCLA, was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for "What Hath God Wrought," which examines America from the Battle of New Orleans to the end of the war with Mexico.
David Halberstam, who was killed in a car crash almost a year ago, was nominated as a finalist in the history category for "The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War."
John Matteson won for biography for "Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father." Matteson teaches English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Saul Friedlander won the general nonfiction award for "The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945."
Two prizes were awarded for poetry: Robert Hass for "Time and Materials" and Philip Schultz for "Failure."
Hass, 67, is a former U.S. poet laureate who grew up in San Francisco and still lives in the Bay area. Schultz is founder of the Writer's Studio in New York and former director of New York University's graduate creative writing program.
David Lang won the music award for "The Little Match Girl Passion," which premiered Oct. 25 at Carnegie Hall in New York.
The citation for the 66-year-old Dylan noted his "profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."
The awards carry a prize of $10,000.
"August: Osage County" originated at Chicago' Steppenwolf Theatre Company last summer and opened in New York in December to some of the year's best reviews.
The playwright's father, Dennis Letts, appeared in the cast as the Oklahoma patriarch whose disappearance sparks an acrimonious family reunion.
Dennis Letts was diagnosed with cancer in September but continued performing eight shows a week, even while he was undergoing treatment, until the end of January. He died in February.