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.

1976 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • John Gardner, October Light (Knopf)

Fiction Finalists

  • Renata Adler, Speedboat (Random)
  • Vladimir Nabokov, Details of a Sunset and Other Stories (McGraw-Hill)
  • Cynthia Ozick, Bloodshed and Three Novellas (Knopf)
  • Richard Yates, The Easter Parade (Delacorte)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts (Knopf)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • George Dangerfield, The Damnable Question: A Study in Anglo-Irish Relations (Atlantic-Little, Brown)
  • Alex Haley, Roots (Doubleday)
  • Irving Howe with Kenneth Libo, World of Our Fathers (Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich)
  • Richard Kluger, Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle for Equality (Knopf)

Poetry Winner

  • Elizabeth Bishop, Geography III (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Poetry Finalists

  • Philip Levine, The Names of the Lost (Atheneum)
  • Muriel Rukeyser, The Gates (McGraw-Hill)
  • Louis Simpson, Searching for the Ox (Morrow)
  • Richard Wilbur, The Mind-Reader (Harcourt)

Criticism Winner

  • Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (Knopf)

Criticism Finalists

  • Ada Louise Huxtable, Kicked a Building Lately? (Quadrangle)
  • Steven Marcus, Representations: Essays on Literature and Society (Random)
  • Charles Rosen, Arnold Schoenberg (Viking)
  • E.B. White, ed. by Dorothy Lobrano Guth, Letters of E.B. White (Harper & Row)