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.

1997 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower (Mariner/Houghton)

Fiction Finalists

  • Don DeLillo, Underworld (Scribner)
  • Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain (Grove)
  • Andrei Makine, Dreams of My Russian Summers (Arcade)
  • Philip Roth, American Pastoral (Houghton Mifflin)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air (Villard)
  • James Kugel, The Bible as It Was (Belknap Press)
  • Pauline Maier, American Scripture (Knopf)
  • Stephen Pinker, How the Mind Works (Norton)

Biography/Autobiography Winner

  • James Tobin, Ernie Pyle’s War (Free Press)

Biography/Autobiography Finalists

  • Joseph Ellis, American Sphinx (Knopf)
  • Hermione Lee, Virginia Woolf (Knopf)
  • Doris Lessing, Walking in the Shade (HarperCollins)

Poetry Winner

  • Charles Wright, Black Zodiac (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Poetry Finalists

  • Frank Bidart, Desire (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Brenda Hillman, Loose Sugar (Wesleyan)
  • Mark Jarman, Questions for Ecclesiastes (Story Line)
  • Sonya Sanchez, Does Your House Have Lions? (Beacon)

Criticism Winner

  • Mario Vargas Llosa, Making Waves (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Criticism Finalists

  • John Brewer, The Pleasures of the Imagination (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Vivian Gornick, The End of the Novel of Love (Beacon)
  • Alfred Kazin, God and the American Writer (Knopf)
  • Helen Vendler, The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Harvard)

Nona Balakian Excellence in Reviewing Award Winner

  • Thomas Mallon

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

  • Leslie Fiedler