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 two prizes voted on by membership: the John Leonard Prize for the best first book in any genre and the Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize, for the best book of any genre translated into English and published in the United States. We also award 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.

1999 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn (Doubleday)

Fiction Finalists

  • A. Manette Ansay, Midnight Champagne (Morrow)
  • Frederick Busch, The Night Inspector (Harmony: Crown)
  • J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace (Viking)
  • David Gates, The Wonders of the Invisible World: Stories (Knopf)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Jonathan Weiner, Time, Love, Memory: A Great Biologist and His Quest for the Origins of Behavior (Knopf)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Jane Brox, Five Thousand Days Like This One: An American Family History (Beacon)
  • John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (Norton)
  • Patricia Hampl, I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory (Norton)
  • Jean-Paul Kauffmann, The Black Room at Longwood: Napoleon’s Exile on Saint Helena (Four Walls Eight Windows)

Biography/Autobiography Winner

  • Henry Wiencek, The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White (St. Martin’s)

Biography/Autobiography Finalists

  • Richard Holmes, Coleridge: Vol. II: Darker Reflections (Pantheon)
  • Jean Strouse, Morgan: American Financier (Random)
  • Judith Thurman, Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette (Knopf)
  • Susan E. Tifft & Alex S. Jones, The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind the New York Times (Little, Brown)

Poetry Winner

  • Ruth Stone, Ordinary Words (Paris Press)

Poetry Finalists

  • Rafael Campo, Diva (Duke Univ. Press)
  • Tory Dent, HIV, Mon Amour (Sheep Meadow)
  • Rita Dove, On the Bus With Rosa Parks (Norton)
  • Susan Kingsolving, Dailies & Rushes (Grove)

Criticism Winner

  • Jorge Louis Borges, Selected Non-Fictions (Viking)

Criticism Finalists

  • Stuart Klawans, Film Follies: The Cinema Out of Order (Cassell)
  • William Logan, Reputations of the Tongue: On Poets and Poetry (Univ. Pr. of Florida)
  • Michael Schmidt, Lives of the Poets (Knopf)
  • David Shields, Black Planet: Facing Race During an NBA Season (Crown)

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Winner

  • Benjamin Schwarz

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

  • Pauline Kael
  • Lawrence Ferlinghetti