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 the John Leonard Prize for the best first book in any genre, voted on by NBCC membership; 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. Beginning in 2023, we’ll award the Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize, for the best book of any genre translated into English and published in the United States.

1992 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses (Knopf)

Fiction Finalists

  • Randall Kenan, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)
  • Joyce Carol Oates, Black Water (Dutton)
  • Richard Price, Clockers (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Robert Stone, Outerbridge Reach (Ticknor & Fields)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Norman Maclean, Young Men and Fire (University of Chicago Press)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Michael D. Coe, Breaking the Maya Code (Thames & Hudson)
  • Donald Katz, Home Fires: An Intimate Portrait of One Middle-Class Family in Postwar America (HarperCollins)
  • Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil (University of California Press)
  • Edward O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life (Harvard University Press)

Biography/Autobiography Winner

  • Carol Brightman, Writing Dangerously: Mary McCarthy and Her World (Clarkson N. Potter)

Biography/Autobiography Finalists

  • Jack Beatty, The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley, 1874-1958 (Addison-Wesley)
  • Paul Hendrickson, Looking for the Light: The Hidden Life and Art of Marion Post Wolcott (Knopf)
  • Walter Isaacson, Kissinger (Simon & Schuster)
  • David McCullough, Truman (Simon & Schuster)

Poetry Winner

  • Hayden Carruth, Collected Shorter Poems 1946-1991 (Copper Canyon Press)

Poetry Finalists

  • David Ferry, Gilgamesh (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Maxine Kumin, Looking for Luck (W.W. Norton)
  • Sharon Olds, The Father (Knopf)
  • K.C. Williams, A Dream of Mine (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Criticism Winner

  • Garry Wills, Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remand America (Simon & Schuster)

Criticism Finalists

  • Frederick Crews, The Critics Bear It Away: American Fiction and the Academy (Random House)
  • Dana Gioia, Can Poetry Matter? Essays on Poetry and American Culture (Graywolf Press)
  • Susan Griffin, A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War (Doubleday)
  • Wallace Stegner, Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs: Living and Writing in the West (Random House)

Nona Balakian Excellence in Reviewing Award Winner

  • Elizabeth Ward

Ivan Sandrof Award Winner

  • Gregory Rabassa