Criticism & Features

NBCC Reads

What’s Your Favorite NBCC Winner or Finalist of All Time?

By Jane Ciabattari

Critical Mass readers will know we are now in our sixth year of “NBCC Reads.” This survey allows us to draw on the bookish expertise of our membership, along with former NBCC winners and finalists. This fall our question is, what is your favorite NBCC winner or finalist of all time?

The first NBCC winners, honored in 1975 for books published in 1974, were E.L. Doctorow (fiction), John Ashbery (poetry), R.W.B. Lewis for his biography of Edith Wharton, and Paul Fussell (criticism).

The most recent awards – expanded to six categories over the years – went to Ben Fountain (fiction), D.A. Powell (poetry). Andrew Solomon (nonfiction) Marina Warner (criticism), Leanne Shapton (autobiography), and Robert Caro  (biography).

Nearly forty years of the best! Take a look through our list of all previous winners and finalists and let us know your favorite. We'll post your responses on Critical Mass.

Send your choice, along with your thoughts on your choice (from a few sentences to a critical essay), to Jane Ciabattari, NBCC VP/Online, at

The deadline: September 26.