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 two prizes voted on by membership: the John Leonard Prize for the best first book in any genre and the Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize, for the best book of any genre translated into English and published in the United States. We also award 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.

1983 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • William Kennedy, Ironweed (The Viking Press)

Fiction Finalists

  • Philip Roth, The Anatomy Lesson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Raymond Carver, Cathedral (Knopf)
  • Joan Chase, During the Reign of the Queen (Harper & Row)
  • Ron Loewinsohn, Magnetic Field(s) (Knopf)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Seymour M. Hersh, The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House (Summit Books)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Roger Rosenblatt, Children of War (Anchor/Doubleday)
  • William W. Warner, Distant Water: The Fate of the North Atlantic Fisherman (Atlantic-Little, Brown)
  • Theodore Draper, Present History: On Nuclear War, Detente and Other Controversies (Random House)
  • David S. Landes, Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World (Harvard University Press)

Biography/Autobiography Winner

  • Joyce Johnson, Minor Characters (Houghton Mifflin)

Biography/Autobiography Finalists

  • Kenneth R. Manning, Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just (Oxford University Press)
  • Nicholas Gage, Eleni (Random House)
  • E. Fuller Torrey, The Roots of Treason: Ezra Pound and the Secret of St. Elizabeth’s (McGraw-Hill)
  • Fred Kaplan, Thomas Carlyle (Cornell University Press)

Poetry Winner

  • James Merrill, The Changing Light at Sandover (Atheneum)

Poetry Finalists

  • Jorie Graham, Erosion (Princeton University Press)
  • Amy Clampitt, The Kingfisher (Knopf)
  • Cathy Song, Picture Bride (Yale University Press)
  • C.K. Williams, Tar (Random House)

Criticism Winner

  • John Updike, Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism (Knopf)

Criticism Finalists

  • John Rockwell, All American Music (Knopf)
  • Cynthia Ozick, Art and Ardor: Essays (Knopf)
  • Svetlana Alpers, The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century (University of Chicago Press)
  • Helen Vendler, The Odes of John Keats (Harvard University Press)