The National Book Critics Circle Award

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.

2020 NBCC Award Winners

  • Hamnet

    Fiction

    Maggie O’Farrell

    Hamnet

    Knopf

  • Island on Fire- The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire

    Nonfiction

    Tom Zoellner

    Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire

    Harvard Univ. Press

  • Stranger in the Shogun’s CityStranger in the Shogun’s City

    Biography

    Amy Stanley

    Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World

    Scribner

  • Minor Feelings

    Autobiography

    Cathy Park Hong

    Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning

    One World

  • Here Is The Sweet Hand

    Poetry

    francine j. harris

    Here Is The Sweet Hand

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux

  • Marking Time

    Criticism

    Nicole R. Fleetwood

    Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration

    Harvard Univ. Press

  • Luster

    John Leonard Prize

    Raven Leilani

    Luster

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux

  • Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

    Jo Livingstone

  • Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award

    The Feminist Press at the City University of New York

2020 NBCC Award Finalists

  • Fiction

    Inside Story
    If I Had Two Wings
    How to Pronounce Knife
    Memorial
    • Martin Amis

      Inside Story Knopf
    • Randall Kenan

      If I Had Two Wings W.W. Norton
    • Souvankham Thammavongsa

      How to Pronounce Knife Little, Brown
    • Bryan Washington

      Memorial Riverhead
  • Nonfiction

    The Broken Heart of America
    Shakespeare in a Divided America
    She Come By It Natural
    Caste- The Origins of Our Discontent
    • Walter Johnson

      The Broken Heart of America: St, Louis and the Violent History of the United States Basic
    • James Shapiro

      Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future Penguin Press
    • Sarah Smarsh

      She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs Scribner
    • Isabel Wilkerson

      Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent Random House
  • Biography

    The Price of Peace
    Red Comet
    The Dead Are Arising
    The Equivalents
    • Zachary D. Carter

      The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes Random House
    • Heather Clark

      Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath Knopf
    • Les Payne, Tamara Payne

      The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X Liveright
    • Maggie Doherty

      The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s Knopf
  • Autobiography

    This is Major
    Golem Girl
    The Dragons, The Giant, The Women
    Home Baked- My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco
    • Shayla Lawson

      This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope HarperPerennial
    • Riva Lehrer

      Golem Girl One World
    • Wayétu Moore

      The Dragons, The Giant, The Women Graywolf
    • Alia Volz

      Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco HMH
  • Poetry

    Obit
    Imperial Liquor
    The Shore
    Homie
    • Victoria Chang

      Obit Copper Canyon
    • Amaud Jamaul Johnson

      Imperial Liquor Univ. of Pittsburgh Press
    • Chris Nealon

      The Shore Wave
    • Danez Smith

      Homie Graywolf
  • Criticism

    Stranger Faces
    Grieving
    Unfinished Business
    Crap- A HISTORY OF CHEAP STUFF IN AMERICA
    • Namwali Serpell

      Stranger Faces Transit
    • Cristina Rivera Garza

      Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country Feminist Press
    • Vivian Gornick

      Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    • Wendy A. Woloson

      Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America Univ. of Chicago Press
  • John Leonard Prize

    The Undocumented Americans
    A Burning
    Shuggie Bain
    Real Life
    How Much of These Hills Is Gold
    • Kerri Arsenault

      Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains St. Martin's
    • Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

      The Undocumented Americans One World
    • Megha Majumdar

      A Burning Knopf
    • Douglas Stuart

      Shuggie Bain Grove
    • Brandon Taylor

      Real Life Riverhead
    • C Pam Zhang

      How Much of These Hills Is Gold Riverhead
  • Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

    • Rumaan Alam

    • Jake Cline

    • Sophie Haigney

    • Dean Rader

  • Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award