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.

1982 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Stanley Elkin, George Mills (Dutton)

Fiction Finalists

  • Cynthia Ozick, Levitation: Five Fictions (Knopf)
  • Anne Tyler, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (Knopf)
  • Alice Walker, The Color Purple (HBJ)
  • Bobbie Ann Mason, Shiloh and Other Stories (Harper & Row)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Robert A. Caro, The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (Knopf)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • George F. Kennan, The Nuclear Delusion: Soviet-American Relations in the Atomic Age, (Pantheon)
  • Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth (Knopf)
  • Daniel Lawrence O’Keefe, Stolen Lightning (Continuum)
  • Kate Simon, Bronx Primitive: Portraits in a Childhood (Viking)

Poetry Winner

  • Katha Pollitt, Antarctic Traveller (Knopf)

Poetry Finalists

  • Jack Gilbert, Monoliths: Poems, 1962 and 1982 (Knopf)
  • Brad Leithauser, Hundreds of Fireflies (Knopf)
  • Phyllis Janowitz, Visiting Rites (Princeton University Press)
  • W.S. Merwin, Finding the Islands (North Point)

Criticism Winner

  • Gore Vidal, The Second American Revolution and Other Essays, 1976-82 (Random)

Criticism Finalists

  • Arlene Croce, Going to the Dance (Knopf)
  • Marshall Berman, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity (Simon & Schuster)
  • Harold Bloom, Agon: Towards a Theory of Revisionism (Oxford)
  • Nina Auerbach, Woman and the Demon (Harvard University Press)

Ivan Sandrof/Board Award Winner

  • Leslie A. Marchand, for his 12-volume edition of Byron’s Letters and Journals

Ivan Sandrof/Board Award Finalists

  • American Library Association
  • George F. Kennan
  • The Library of America
  • Malcolm Cowley