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.

1984 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine (Holt Rinehart & Winston)

Fiction Finalists

  • David Leavitt, Family Dancing (Knopf)
  • Alison Lurie, Foreign Affairs (Random House)
  • Jayne Anne Phillips, Machine Dreams (Dutton)
  • Harriet Doerr, Stones for Ibarra (Viking)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Freeman Dyson, Weapons and Hope (Cornelia and Michael Bessie/Harper and Row)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • David Wyman, The Abandonment of the Jews (Pantheon)
  • John Edgar Wideman, Brothers and Keepers (Holt, Rinehart and Winston)
  • Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (Basic Books)
  • Evan Connell, Son of the Morning Star (North Point Press)

Biography/Autobiography Winner

  • Joseph Frank, Dostoevsky: The Years of Ordeal, 1850-59 (Princeton University Press)

Biography/Autobiography Finalists

  • Susan Cheever, Home Before Dark (Princeton)
  • Elinor Langer, Josephine Herbst (Atlantic/Little, Brown)
  • Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings (Harvard University Press)
  • Paul Zweig, Walt Whitman: The Making of a Poet (Basic Books)

Poetry Winner

  • Sharon Olds, The Dead and the Living (Knopf)

Poetry Finalists

  • Robert Duncan, Ground Work: Before the War (New Directions)
  • Charles Wright, The Other Side of the River (Random House)
  • Dick Allen, Overnight in the Guest House of the Mystic (Louisiana State University Press)
  • John Ashbery, A Wave (Viking)

Criticism Winner

  • Robert Hass, Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry (Ecco Press)

Criticism Finalists

  • Donald Keene, Dawn to the West: Japanese Literature in the Modern Era (Holt, Rinehart and Winston)
  • David Bromwich, Hazlitt: The Mind of a Critic (Oxford University Press)
  • Roger Shattuck, The Innocent Eye (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Leo Steinberg, The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion (Pantheon)

Ivan Sandrof/NBCC Award Winner

  • Library of America