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 Winners

  • Fiction

    Lorrie Moore

    I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home


  • Nonfiction

    Roxanna Asgarian

    We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux

  • Biography

    Jonny Steinberg

    Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage


  • Autobiography

    Safiya Sinclair

    How to Say Babylon: A Memoir

    Simon & Schuster

  • Poetry

    Kim Hyesoon, translation by Don Mee Choi

    Phantom Pain Wings

    New Directions

  • Criticism

    Tina Post

    Deadpan: The Aesthetics of Black Inexpression

    NYU Press

  • John Leonard Prize

    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

  • Gregg Barrios Book in Translation

    Tezer Özlü, translation by Maureen Freely

    Cold Nights of Childhood

    Transit Books

  • Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

    Becca Rothfeld

  • Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award

    Judy Blume

  • Toni Morrison Achievement Award

    American Library Association

2023 NBCC Award Finalists

  • Fiction

    • Teju Cole

      Tremor Random House
    • Daniel Mason

      North Woods Random House
    • Marie NDiaye, translation by Jordan Stump

      Vengeance Is Mine Knopf
    • Justin Torres

      Blackouts Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Nonfiction

    • 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
  • 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
    • Matthew Zapruder

      Story of a Poem: A Memoir Unnamed Press
  • Poetry

    • Saskia Hamilton

      All Souls Graywolf Press
    • 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
  • John Leonard Prize

    • 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
    • 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
  • Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

    • Rhoda Feng

    • Christoph Irmscher

    • Sophie Pinkham

    • Audrey Wollen