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.

1979 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Thomas Flanagan, The Year of the French (Holt, Rinehart & Winston)

Fiction Finalists

  • Philip Roth, The Ghost Writer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • William Styron, Sophie’s Choice (Random)
  • Norman Mailer, The Executioner’s Song: A True Life Novel (Little, Brown)
  • Elizabeth Hardwick, Sleepless Nights (Random)
  • Leslie Epstein, King of the Jews: A Novel of the Holocaust (Coward, McCann & Geoghegan)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Telford Taylor, Munich: The Price of Peace (Doubleday)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Joan Didion, The White Album (Simon & Schuster)
  • Edward Hoagland, African Calliope: A Journey to the Sudan (Random)
  • Douglas Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Brain (Basic)

Poetry Winner

  • Philip Levine, Ashes and 7 Years from Somewhere (Atheneum)

Poetry Finalists

  • Anthony Hecht, The Venetian Vespers (Atheneum)
  • John Hollander, Blue Wine and Other Poems (Johns Hopkins)
  • David Smith, Goshawk, Antelope (Illinois)
  • Howard Moss, Notes From the Castle (Atheneum)

Criticism Winner

  • Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (Random)

Criticism Finalists

  • Frances FitzGerald, America Revised: History Schoolbooks in the Twentieth Century (Atlantic-Little, Brown)
  • Richard Gilman, Decadence: The Strange Life of an Epithet (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Sandra M. Gilbert & Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (Yale)
  • Robert Alter with Carol Cosman, A Lion for Love: A Critical Biography of Stendhal (Basic)