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.

1991 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres (Knopf)

Fiction Finalists

  • Louis Begley, Wartime Lies (Knopf)
  • Gish Jen, Typical American (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Richard Powers, The Gold Bug Variations (Morrow)
  • Norman Rush, Mating (Knopf)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women (Crown)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Thomas Geoghegan, Which Side Are You on? Trying to Be for Labor When It’s Flat on Its Back (FSG)
  • Melissa Fay Greene, Praying for Sheetrock (Addison-Wesley)
  • Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools (Crown)
  • Dennis Overbye, Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos: The Scientific Quest for the Secret of the Universe (HarperCollins)

Biography/Autobiography Winner

  • Philip Roth, Patrimony: A True Story (Simon & Schuster)

Biography/Autobiography Finalists

  • John Cheever, The Journals of John Cheever (Knopf)
  • Robert Kanigel, The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan (Scribner)
  • Diane Middlebrook, Anne Sexton: A Biography (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Art Spiegelman, Maus II (Pantheon)

Poetry Winner

  • Albert Goldbarth, Heaven and Earth: A Cosmology (Georgia)

Poetry Finalists

  • Diane Ackerman, Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New & Selected Poems (Random House)
  • Allen Grossman, The Ether Dome and Other Poems: New & Selected (1979-1991) (New Directions)
  • Philip Levine, What Work Is (Knopf)
  • Adrienne Rich, An Atlas of the Difficult World (Norton)

Criticism Winner

  • Lawrence L. Langer, Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory (Yale)

Criticism Finalists

  • Norman F. Cantor, Inventing the Middle Ages: The Lives, Works & Ideas of the Great Medievalists of the Twentieth Century (Morrow)
  • J. Hoberman, Vulgar Modernism: Writing on Movies and Other Media (Temple Univ. Press)
  • Louise J. Kaplan, Female Perversions: The Temptations of Emma Bovary (Talese/Doubleday)
  • John Updike, Odd Jobs (Knopf)

Reviewer’s Citation Winner

  • George Scialabba