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.

1990 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • John Updike, Rabbit at Rest (Knopf)

Fiction Finalists

  • Charles Johnson, Middle Passage (Atheneum)
  • Sue Miller, Family Pictures (HarperCollins)
  • Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried (Seymour Lawrence/Houghton Mifflin)
  • Wallace Stegner, Collected Stories (Random House)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Shelby Steele, The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America (St. Martin’s)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Mike Davis, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (Verso)
  • Alma Guillermoprieto, Samba (Knopf)
  • O.B. Hardison, Disappearing Through the Skylight: Culture and Technology in the 20th Century (Viking)
  • Kevin Phillips, The Politics of Rich and Poor: Wealth and the American Electorate in the Regan Aftermath (Random House)

Biography/Autobiography Winner

  • Robert Caro, Means of Ascent: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (Knopf)

Biography/Autobiography Finalists

  • John Espey, Strong Drink, Strong Language (John Daniel)
  • Patricia O’Toole, The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends, 1880-1918 (Clarkson N. Potter)
  • Richard Rhodes, A Hole in the World (Simon & Schuster)
  • T.H. Watkins, Righteous Pilgrim: The Life and Times of Harold L. Ickes (Holt)

Poetry Winner

  • Amy Gerstler, Bitter Angel (Nort Point)

Poetry Finalists

  • Frank Bidart, In the Western Night (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • John Haines, New Poems, 1980-88 (Story Line Press)
  • Anthony Hecht, The Transparent Man (Knopf)
  • Charles Simic, The Book of Gods and Devils (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)

Criticism Winner

  • Arthur Danto, Encounters and Reflections: Art in the Historical Present (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Criticism Finalists

  • Stanley Crouch, Notes of a Hanging Judge: Essays and Reviews, 1979-1989 (Oxford University Press)
  • Irving Howe, Selected Writings, 1950-1990 (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)
  • Camille Paglia, Emily Dickinson (Yale University Press)
  • Wilfrid Sheed, Essays in Disguise (Knopf)

Ivan Sandorf/NBCC Board Award Winner

  • Donald Keene