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.

2002 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Ian McEwan, Atonement (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)

Fiction Finalists

  • Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Aleksandar Hemon, Nowhere Man (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)
  • William Kennedy, Roscoe (Viking)
  • Edith Templeton, The Darts of Cupid: And Other Stories (Pantheon)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Samantha Power, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (Basic Books)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Chris Hedges, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (PublicAffairs)
  • William Langewiesche, American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center (North Point Press/FSG)
  • Richard Rodriguez, Brown: The Last Discovery of America (Viking)
  • Gaby Wood, Edison’s Eve: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life (Knopf)

Biography/Autobiography Winner

  • Janet Browne, Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (Knopf)

Biography/Autobiography Finalists

  • Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (Knopf)
  • Elizabeth Gilbert, The Last American Man (Viking)
  • Edmund S. Morgan, Benjamin Franklin (Yale University Press)
  • Mark Zwonitzer with Charles Hirshberg, Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music (Simon & Schuster)

Poetry Winner

  • B.H. Fairchild, Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest (Norton)

Poetry Finalists

  • Major Jackson, Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia Press)
  • Harryette Mullen, Sleeping With the Dictionary (University of California Press)
  • Sharon Olds, The Unswept Room (Knopf)
  • Adam Zagajewski, Without End: New and Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Criticism Winner

  • William H. Gass, Tests of Time (Knopf)

Criticism Finalists

  • Philip Ball, Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Julia Blackburn, Old Man Goya (Pantheon)
  • Christopher Ricks, Reviewery (Handsel Books/Other Press)
  • Charles Rosen, Piano Notes: The World of the Pianist (Free Press)

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Winner

  • Maureen N. McLane

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

  • Richard Howard