The National Book Critics Circle Awards

Each year, the National Book Critics Circle presents awards for the finest books published in English in six categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Biography, Autobiography, Poetry, and Criticism.

In addition, we award the John Leonard Prize for the best first book in any genre, voted on by NBCC membership; the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, which recognizes outstanding work by a member of the NBCC; and the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award and Toni Morrison Achievement Award, which are given respectively to individuals and literary institutions for transformative contributions to book culture. Beginning in 2023, we’ll award the Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize, for the best book of any genre translated into English and published in the United States.

2023 NBCC Award Finalists

  • Fiction

    • Teju Cole

      Tremor Random House
    • Daniel Mason

      North Woods Random House
    • Lorrie Moore

      I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home Knopf
    • Marie NDiaye, translation by Jordan Stump

      Vengeance Is Mine Knopf
    • Justin Torres

      Blackouts Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Nonfiction

    • Roxanna Asgarian

      We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    • Kerry Howley

      Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs Knopf
    • Dina Nayeri

      Who Gets Believed? When the Truth Isn’t Enough Catapult Books
    • Jeff Sharlet

      The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War W. W. Norton
    • Christina Sharpe

      Ordinary Notes Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Biography

    • Jonathan Eig

      King: A Life Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    • Gregg Hecimovich

      The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of the Bondwoman’s Narrative Ecco
    • Yunte Huang

      Daughter of the Dragon: Anna May Wong’s Rendezvous with American History Liveright
    • Rachel Shteir

      Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disruptor Yale University Press
    • Jonny Steinberg

      Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage Knopf
  • Autobiography

    • Susan Kiyo Ito

      I Would Meet You Anywhere: A Memoir The Ohio State University Press
    • David Mas Masumoto, with artwork by Patricia Wakida

      Secret Harvests: A Hidden Story of Separation and the Resilience of a Family Farm Red Hen Press
    • Ahmed Naji, translation by Katharine Halls

      Rotten Evidence: Reading and Writing in an Egyptian Prison McSweeney’s
    • Safiya Sinclair

      How to Say Babylon: A Memoir Simon & Schuster
    • Matthew Zapruder

      Story of a Poem: A Memoir Unnamed Press
  • Poetry

    • Saskia Hamilton

      All Souls Graywolf Press
    • Kim Hyesoon, translation by Don Mee Choi

      Phantom Pain Wings New Directions
    • Romeo Oriogun

      The Gathering of Bastards University of Nebraska Press
    • Robyn Schiff

      Information Desk Penguin Books
    • Charif Shanahan

      Trace Evidence Tin House
  • Criticism

    • Nicholas Dames

      The Chapter: A Segmented History from Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century Princeton University Press
    • Myriam Gurba

      Creep: Accusations and Confessions Avid Reader Press
    • Naomi Klein

      Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    • Grace E. Lavery

      Pleasure and Efficacy: Of Pen Names, Cover Versions, and Other Trans Techniques Princeton University Press
    • Tina Post

      Deadpan: The Aesthetics of Black Inexpression NYU Press
  • John Leonard Prize

    The John Leonard Prize for Best First Book is selected by the organization’s membership. The 2023 winner will be announced on March 21, 2023.

    • Ariana Benson

      Black Pastoral University of Georgia Press
    • Emilie Boone

      A Nimble Arc: James Van Der Zee and Photography Duke University Press
    • Victor Heringer, translation by James Young

      The Love of Singular Men New Directions
    • Tahir Hamut Izgil, translation by Joshua L. Freeman

      Waiting to Be Arrested at Night: a Uyghur Poet’s Memoir of China’s Genocide Penguin Press
    • Donovan X. Ramsey

      When Crack Was King One World
    • Martin J. Siegel

      Judgment and Mercy: The Turbulent Life and Times of the Judge Who Condemned the Rosenbergs Cornell University Press
  • Gregg Barrios Book in Translation

    • Bachtyar Ali, translation by Kareem Abdulrahman

      The Last Pomegranate Tree Archipelago Books
    • Kim Hyesoon, translation by Don Mee Choi

      Phantom Pain Wings New Directions
    • Tezer Özlü, translation by Maureen Freely

      Cold Nights of Childhood Transit Books
    • Norman Erikson Pasaribu, translation by Tiffany Tsao

      Happy Stories, Mostly Feminist Press
    • Dorothy Tse, translation by Natascha Bruce

      Owlish Graywolf Press
    • Azo Vauguy, translation by Todd Fredson

      Zakwato & Loglêdou’s Peril Action Books
  • Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

    The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing is an annual award recognizing outstanding work by a member of the NBCC. The citation is awarded in honor of Nona Balakian, a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle, and comes with a cash prize of $1,000. The winner of the 2023 Balakian Prize is Becca Rothfeld. The finalists are listed below.

    • Becca Rothfeld

    • Rhoda Feng

    • Christoph Irmscher

    • Sophie Pinkham

    • Audrey Wollen