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.

2006 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss (Grove/Atlantic)

Fiction Finalists

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun (Knopf)
  • Dave Eggers, What Is the What (McSweeney’s)
  • Richard Ford, The Lay of the Land (Knopf)
  • Cormac McCarthy, The Road (Knopf)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Simon Schama, Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution (Ecco)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Patrick Cockburn, The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq (Verso)
  • Anne Fessler, The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe V. Wade (Penguin Press)
  • Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Penguin Press)
  • Sandy Tolan, The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew and the Heart of the Middle East (Bloomsbury)

Biography Winner

  • Julie Phillips, James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon (St.Martin’s Press)

Biography Finalists

  • Debby Applegate, The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher (Doubleday)
  • Taylor Branch, At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968 (Simon& Schuster)
  • Frederick Brown, Flaubert: A Biography (Little, Brown)
  • Jason Roberts, A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler (HarperCollins)

Autobiography/Memoir Winner

  • Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million (HarperCollins)

Autobiography/Memoir Finalists

  • Donald Antrim, The Afterlife (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Alexander Masters, Stuart: A Life Backwards (Delacorte)
  • Teri Jentz, Strange Piece of Paradise (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Poetry Winner

  • Troy Jollimore, Tom Thomson in Purgatory (Margie/Intuit House)

Poetry Finalists

  • Daisy Fried, My Brother is Getting Arrested Again (University of Pittsburgh Press)
  • Miltos Sachtouris, Poems (1945-1971) (Archipelego Books)
  • Frederick Seidel, Ooga-Booga (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • W.D. Snodgrass, Not for Specialists: New and Selected Poems (BOA Editions)

Criticism Winner

  • Lawrence Weschler, Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences (McSweeney’s)

Criticism Finalists

  • Bruce Bawer: While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West From Within (Doubleday)
  • Frederick Crews, Follies of the Wise: Dissenting Essays (Shoemaker & Hoard)
  • Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion As a Natural Phenomenon (Viking)
  • Lia Purpura, On Looking: Essays (Sarabande Books)

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Winner

  • Steven G. Kellman

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Finalists

  • Ron Charles
  • Kathryn Harrison
  • Gideon Lewis-Kraus
  • Donna Rifkind

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

  • John Leonard