National Book Critics Circle Award

The National Book Critics Circle Awards are a set of annual American literary awards by the National Book Critics Circle to promote "the finest books and reviews published in English". It honors reading, criticism and literature since 1974.
There are six awards to books published in the U.S. during the preceding calendar year, in six categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Memoir/Autobiography, Biography, and Criticism.

 

for Biography category winners

2017 selection

Prairie Fires

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography 2018, National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography 2017

by Caroline Fraser

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD

ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder,...


2006 selection

James Tiptree, Jr.

National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography 2006

by Julie Phillips

James Tiptree, Jr. burst onto the science fiction scene in the 1970s with a series of hard-edged, provocative short stories. Hailed as a brilliant masculine writer with a deep sympathy for his female characters,...


for Biography/Autobiography category winners

2000 selection

Hirohito And The Making Of Modern Japan

Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction 2001, National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography/Autobiography 2000

by Herbert P. Bix

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

In this groundbreaking biography of the Japanese emperor Hirohito, Herbert P. Bix offers the first complete, unvarnished look at the enigmatic leader whose sixty-three-year reign...


1998 selection

A Beautiful Mind

National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography/Autobiography 1998

by Sylvia Nasar

In this powerful and dramatic biography Sylvia Nasar vividly recreates the life of a mathematical genius whose career was cut short by schizophrenia and who, after three decades of devastating mental illness,...


1997 selection

Ernie Pyles War

National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography/Autobiography 1997

by James Tobin

When a machine-gun bullet ended the life of war correspondent Ernie Pyle in the final days of World War II, Americans mourned him in the same breath as they mourned Franklin Roosevelt. To millions, the loss...


1996 selection

Angela's Ashes

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography 1997, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography 1996, National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography/Autobiography 1996

by Frank McCourt

A Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times bestseller, Angela’s Ashes is Frank McCourt’s masterful memoir of his childhood in Ireland.

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive...


for Criticism category winners

2015 selection

The Argonauts

National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 2015

by Maggie Nelson

An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family

Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely...


2011 selection

Otherwise Known as the Human Condition

National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 2011

by Geoff Dyer

*Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism*

*A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice*

*A New York Times Top 10 Nonfiction Book of the Year, as selected by Dwight Garner*

Geoff Dyer has...


2009 selection

Notes from No Man's Land

National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 2009

by Eula Biss

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism

Winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

A frank and fascinating exploration of race and racial identity

Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays...


2007 selection

The Rest Is Noise

Guardian First Book Award 2008, National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 2007

by Alex Ross

The scandal over modern music has not died down. While paintings by Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock sell for a hundred million dollars or more, shocking musical works from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring onward...


2005 selection

The Undiscovered Country: Poetry in the Age of Tin

National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 2005

by William Logan

William Logan has been called both the "preeminent poet-critic of his generation" and the "most hated man in American poetry." For more than a quarter century, in the keen-witted and bare-knuckled reviews that...


1998 selection

Visions of Jazz: The First Century

National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 1998

by Gary Giddins

Poised to become a classic of jazz literature, Visions of Jazz: The First Century offers seventy-nine chapters illuminating the lives of virtually all the major figures in jazz history. From Louis Armstrongs...


1997 selection

Making Waves

National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 1997

by Mario Vargas Llosa & John King

Spanning thirty years of writing, Making Waves traces the development of Mario Vargas Llosa's thinking on politics and culture, and shows the breadth of his interests and passions. Featured here are astute meditations...


1992 selection

Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America

Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction 1993, National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 1992

by Garry Wills

The power of words has rarely been given a more compelling demonstration than in the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln was asked to memorialize the gruesome battle. Instead, he gave the whole nation "a new birth of...


1977 selection

On Photography

National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 1977

by Susan Sontag

Winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award for Criticism.

One of the most highly regarded books of its kind, On Photography first appeared in 1977 and is described by its author as "a progress of essays...


1975 selection

The Great War and Modern Memory

National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 1975

by Paul Fussell

The year 2000 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of The Great War and Modern Memory, winner of the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and recently named by the Modern...


for Fiction category winners

2017 selection

Improvement

PEN/Faulkner Award 2018, National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2017

by Joan Silber

The splendid new novel by the critically acclaimed author of Fools and Ideas of Heaven, a Finalist for the National Book Award

One of our most gifted writers of fiction returns with a bold and piercing novel...


2016 selection

LaRose

National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2016

by Louise Erdrich

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction

Finalist for the 2017 PEN Faulkner Award

In this literary masterwork, Louise Erdrich, the bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning The...


2015 selection

The Sellout

Man Booker Prize 2016, National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2015

by Paul Beatty

Winner of the Man Booker Prize

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction

Winner of the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature

New York Times Bestseller

Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Named One of the...


2014 selection

Lila

National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2014

by Marilynne Robinson

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

National Book Award Finalist

A new American classic from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gilead and Housekeeping

Marilynne Robinson, one of the greatest novelists...


2012 selection

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize 2012, National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2012, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction 2012

by Ben Fountain

New York Times Bestseller

Now a Major Motion Picture

“Brilliantly done . . . grand, intimate, and joyous.”

—New York Times Book Review

“Mothers, father, sons, and daughters: read this giant-hearted novel.”...


2009 selection

Wolf Hall

Walter Scott Prize 2010, Man Booker Prize 2009, National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2009

by Hilary Mantel

In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political power

England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster....


2008 selection

2666

National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2008

by Roberto Bolano & Natasha Wimmer

THE POSTHUMOUS MASTERWORK FROM "ONE OF THE GREATEST AND MOST INFLUENTIAL MODERN WRITERS" (JAMES WOOD, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW)

Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño's life, 2666 was greeted across...


2004 selection

Gilead

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2005, National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2004

by Marilynne Robinson

The 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning novel

A New York Times Top-Ten Book of 2004

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction

Nearly 25 years after Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate...


2003 selection

The Known World

International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2005, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2004, National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2003

by Edward P. Jones

From Edward P. Jones comes one of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory—winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.

The Known World tells the story...


2000 selection

Being Dead

National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2000

by Jim Crace

A haunting new novel about love, death, and the afterlife, from the author of Quarantine

Baritone Bay, mid-afternoon. A couple, naked, married almost thirty years, are lying murdered in the dunes.

"Their bodies...


1987 selection

The Counterlife

National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 1987

by Philip Roth

The Counterlife is a novel unlike any that Philip Roth has written before, a book of astonishing 180-degree turns, a book of conflicting perspectives and points of view, and, by far, Roth's most radical work...


for General Non-fiction category winners

2017 selection

The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

National Book Critics Circle Award for General Non-fiction 2017

by Frances FitzGerald

* Winner of the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award

* National Book Award Finalist

* Time magazine Top 10 Nonfiction Book of the Year

* New York Times Notable Book

* Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017...


2012 selection

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity

Wellcome Book Prize 2014, Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction 2013, Green Carnation Prize 2013, National Book Critics Circle Award for General Non-fiction 2012

by Andrew Solomon

From the National Book Award–winning author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression comes a monumental new work, a decade in the writing, about family. In Far from the Tree, Andrew Solomon tells the stories...


2006 selection

Rough Crossings

National Book Critics Circle Award for General Non-fiction 2006

by Simon Schama

If you were black in America at the start of the Revolutionary War, which side would you want to win?

When the last British governor of Virginia declared that any rebel-owned slave who escaped and served the...


1998 selection

We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families

Guardian First Book Award 1999, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest 1998, National Book Critics Circle Award for General Non-fiction 1998

by Philip Gourevitch

An unforgettable firsthand account of a people's response to genocide and what it tells us about humanity.

This remarkable debut book chronicles what has happened in Rwanda and neighboring states since 1994,...


1997 selection

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest 1997, National Book Critics Circle Award for General Non-fiction 1997

by Anne Fadiman

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction

When three-month-old Lia Lee Arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which...


1988 selection

Parting the Waters

Pulitzer Prize for History 1989, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest 1989, National Book Critics Circle Award for General Non-fiction 1988

by Taylor Branch

In volume one of his America in the King Years, Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor Branch gives a masterly account of the American civil rights movement.

Hailed as the most masterful story ever told of the American...


1983 selection

The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House

National Book Critics Circle Award for General Non-fiction 1983

by Seymour Hersh

Price of Power examines Henry Kissinger’s influence on the development of the foreign policy of the United States during the presidency of Richard Nixon.


for Memoir/Autobiography category winners

2017 selection

Nine Continents

National Book Critics Circle Award for Memoir/Autobiography 2017

by Xiaolu Guo

Xiaolu Guo is one of the most acclaimed Chinese-born writers of her generation, an iconoclastic and completely contemporary voice. Her vivid, poignant memoir, Nine Continents is the story of a curious mind coming...


2013 selection

Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti

National Book Critics Circle Award for Memoir/Autobiography 2013

by Amy Wilentz

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, this is a brilliant writer’s account of a long, painful, ecstatic—and unreciprocated—affair with a country that has long fascinated the...


2011 selection

The Memory Palace

National Book Critics Circle Award for Memoir/Autobiography 2011

by Mira Bartok

In the tradition of The Glass Castle, two sisters confront schizophrenia in this poignant literary memoir about family and mental illness. Through stunning prose and original art, The Memory Palace captures...


for Poetry category winners

2017 selection

WHEREAS

National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry 2017

by Layli Long Soldier

The astonishing, powerful debut by the winner of a 2016 Whiting Writers' Award

WHEREAS her birth signaled the responsibility as mother to teach what it is to be Lakota therein the question: What did I know about...


2016 selection

House of Lords and Commons

National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry 2016

by Ishion Hutchinson

A stunning collection that traverses the borders of culture and time, from the 2011 winner of the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award

In House of Lords and Commons, the revelatory and vital new collection of poems from...


2014 selection

Citizen

National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry 2014, Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry 2014

by Claudia Rankine

* Finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry *

* Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry * Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism * Winner of the NAACP Image Award...


2013 selection

Metaphysical Dog

National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry 2013

by Frank Bidart

National Book Critics Circle Award Winner

A National Book Award Finalist

A vital, searching new collection from one of finest American poets at work today

In "Those Nights," Frank Bidart writes: "We who could get...


2012 selection

Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys

National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry 2012

by D. A. Powell

*Winner of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry*

I have this rearrangement to make:

symbolic death, my backward glance.

The way the past is a kind of future

leaning against the sporty hood....