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.

NBCC Awards Submissions

How do the awards work?

Each board member serves on two to three genre committees every year. Individual genre committees develop reading lists and read widely throughout the year, voting on short lists within their committee in January. 

The full board votes on the winners the day of the award ceremony in March.

Can I submit a book to the National Book Critics Circle Board for consideration?

Unlike many other awards, we do not accept official submissions, nor do we charge fees. The committee will generally request individual books from publishers. However, publishers are welcome to bring books to the board’s attention by uploading PDFs of books in our system or mailing hard copies to committee members. 

It is essential that the board receive the books as early in the year as possible to allow time to consider all titles. If you have been contacted to submit a title to the NBCC, please expedite the request as soon as possible so they can be part of the board’s active, ongoing discussion. While you may submit late-year books to be received as late as December 1, even if they have a later publication date, we recommend submitting books by November 1st, in order for the committee to have time to read and consider them.

Publishers: for online submissions, please choose the category that you think is the best fit. You can also find a mailing list for board members on our submission form.

Publicists: You can find the email addresses for all board members by clicking “Board” on the website menu above.

When is a book eligible for the awards?

Any book is eligible if it is published in English (including translations) in the United States. Our awards year is the calendar year – books published from January 1 to December 31.