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.

1989 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • E.L. Doctorow, Billy Bathgate (Random House)

Fiction Finalists

  • Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club (Putnam)
  • Oscar Hijeulos, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Jane Smiley, Ordinary Love & Good Will (Knopf)
  • John Casey, Spartina (Knopf)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Michael Dorris, The Broken Cord (Harper & Row)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Tracy Kidder, Among Schoolchildren (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Barbara Ehrenreich, Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (Pantheon)
  • David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace: Creating the Modern Middle East, 1914-1922 (Henry Holt)
  • Amy Wilentz, The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier (Simon & Schuster)

Biography/Autobiography Winner

  • Geoffrey C. Ward, A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt (Harper & Row)

Biography/Autobiography Finalists

  • Bil Gilbert, And God Gave Us This Country: Tekamthi and the First American Civil War (Atheneum)
  • Otto Friedrich, Glenn Gould: A Life and Variations (Random House)
  • Roger Moris, Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of an American Politician (Henry Holt)
  • Tobias Wolff, This Boy’s Life: A Memoir (Atlantic Monthly Press)

Poetry Winner

  • Rodney Jones, Transparent Gestures (Houghton Mifflin)

Poetry Finalists

  • August Kleinzahler, Earthquake Weather (Moyer Bell Ltd.)
  • Robert Hass, Human Wishes (Ecco Press)
  • Thylias Moss, Pyramid of Bone (University Press of Virginia)
  • Nancy Willard, Water Walker (Knopf)

Criticism Winner

  • John Clive, Not by Fact Alone: Essays on the Writing and Reading of History (Knopf)

Criticism Finalists

  • William L. Vance, America’s Rome (Yale University Press)
  • David Bromwich, A Choice of Inheritance: Self and Community from Edmund Burke to Robert Frost (Harvard University Press)
  • Charles Solomon, Enchanted Drawings: The History of Animation (Knopf)
  • Cynthia Ozick, Metaphor & Memory: Essays (Knopf)

Ivan Sandrof/NBCC Board Award Winner

  • James Laughlin, founder and publisher of New Directions, for his distinguished contribution to American letters