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.

2022 NBCC Award Finalists

  • Fiction

    • Percival Everett

      Dr. No Graywolf
    • Jon Fosse, trans. by Damion Searls

      A New Name Transit Books
    • Mieko Kawakami, trans. by Sam Bett and David Boyd

      All the Lovers in the Night Europa Editions
    • Ling Ma

      Bliss Montage: Stories Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    • Namwali Serpell

      The Furrows Hogarth
  • Nonfiction

    • Isaac Butler

      The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to Act Bloomsbury
    • Kelly Lytle Hernández

      Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands Norton
    • Joseph Osmundson

      Virology: Essays for the Living, the Dead, and the Small Things in Between Norton
    • Annie Proulx

      Fen, Bog, & Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the Climate Crisis Scribner
    • Ed Yong

      An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us Random House
  • Biography

    • Kerri K. Greenidge

      The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family Liveright
    • Jennifer Homans

      Mr. B: George Balanchine's 20th Century Random House
    • Clare Mac Cumhaill and Rachael Wiseman

      Metaphysical Animals: How Four Women Brought Philosophy Back to Life Doubleday
    • Aaron Sachs

      Up from the Depths: Herman Melville, Lewis Mumford, and Rediscovery in Dark Times Princeton University Press
    • Beverly Gage

      G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century Viking
  • Autobiography

    • Jazmine Barrera, trans. by Christina MacSweeney

      Linea Nigra: An Essay on Pregnancy and Earthquakes Two Lines Press
    • Hua Hsu

      Stay True: A Memoir Doubleday
    • Dorthe Nors, trans. by Caroline Waight

      A Line in the World: A Year on the North Sea Coast Graywolf
    • Darryl Pinckney

      Come Back in September: A Literary Education on West Sixty-Seventh Street, Manhattan Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    • Ingrid Rojas Contreras

      The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir Doubleday
  • Poetry

    • Mosab Abu Toha

      Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear City Lights
    • Cynthia Cruz

      Hotel Oblivion Four Way
    • David Hernandez

      Hello I Must be Going Pitt
    • Paul Hlava Ceballos

      banana [ ] Pitt
    • Bernadette Mayer

      Milkweed Smithereens New Directions
  • Criticism

    • Rachel Aviv

      Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    • Timothy Bewes

      Free Indirect: The Novel in a Postfictional Age Columbia
    • Peter Brooks

      Seduced by Story: The Use and Abuse of Narrative NYRB
    • Margo Jefferson

      Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir Pantheon
    • Alia Trabucco Zerán, trans. by Sophie Hughes

      When Women Kill: Four Crimes Retold Coffee House Press
  • John Leonard Prize

    The John Leonard Prize for Best First Book is selected by the organization’s membership. The 2021 winner will be announced on March 17, 2022.

    • Jessamine Chan

      The School for Good Mothers S&S/Marysue Rucci Books
    • Jonathan Escoffery

      If I Survive You MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    • Tess Gunty

      The Rabbit Hutch Knopf
    • Zain Khalid

      Brother Alive Grove
    • Maud Newton

      Ancestor Trouble Random House
    • Morgan Talty

      Night of the Living Rez Tin House
    • Vauhini Vara

      The Immortal King Rao Norton
  • Gregg Barrios Book in Translation

    • Andrey Kurkov trans. by Boris Dralyuk

      Grey Bees Deep Vellum
    • Olga Tokarczuk, trans. by Jennifer Croft

      The Books of Jacob Riverhead Books
    • Maya Abu Al-Hayyat, trans. by Fady Joudah

      You Can Be the Last Leaf Milkweed Editions
    • Irene Solà, trans. by Mara Faye Lethem

      When I Sing, Mountains Dance Graywolf Press
    • Jazmina Barrera, trans. by Christina MacSweeney

      Linea Nigra: An Essay on Pregnancy & Earthquakes Two Lines Press
  • 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 2022 Balakian Prize is Jennifer Wilson. The finalists are listed below.

    • Jennifer Wilson

    • Sarah Chihaya

    • Christoph Irmscher

    • Lauren Michele Jackson

    • Ruth Margalit