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.

2007 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead)

Fiction Finalists

  • Vikram Chandra, Sacred Games (HarperCollins)
  • Hisham Matar, In The Country of Men (Dial Press)
  • Joyce Carol Oates, The Gravedigger’s Daughter (Ecco)
  • Marianne Wiggins, The Shadow Catcher (Simon & Schuster)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Harriet Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (Doubleday)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Philip Gura, American Transcendentalism (Hill & Wang)
  • Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America 1815-1848 (Oxford University Press)
  • Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: A History of the CIA (Doubleday)
  • Alan Weisman, The World Without Us, Thomas Dunne (BKs/St. Martin’s)

Biography Winner

  • Tim Jeal, Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer (Yale University Press)

Biography Finalists

  • Hermione Lee, Edith Wharton (Knopf)
  • Arnold Rampersad, Ralph Ellison (Knopf)
  • John Richardson, The Life Of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932 (Knopf)
  • Claire Tomalin, Thomas Hardy (Penguin Press)


  • Edwidge Danticat, Brother, I’m Dying (Knopf)

Autobiography/Memoir Finalists

  • Joshua Clark, Heart Like Water: Surviving Katrina and Life in Its Disaster Zone (Free Press)
  • Joyce Carol Oates, The Journals of Joyce Carol Oates, 1973–1982 (Ecco)
  • Sara Paretsky, Writing in an Age of Silence (Verso)
  • Anna Politkovskaya, Russian Diary: A Journalist’s Final Account of Life, Corruption and Death in Putin’s Russia (Random House)

Poetry Winner

  • Mary Jo Bang, Elegy (Graywolf)

Poetry Finalists

  • Matthea Harvey, Modern Life (Graywolf)
  • Michael O’Brien, Sleeping and Waking (Flood)
  • Tom Pickard, The Ballad of Jamie Allan (Flood)
  • Tadeusz Rozewicz, New Poems (Archipelago)

Criticism Winner

  • Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

Criticism Finalists

  • Joan Acocella, Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints (Pantheon)
  • Julia Alvarez, Once Upon a Quniceanera (Viking)
  • Susan Faludi, The Terror Dream (Metropolitan/Holt)
  • Ben Ratliff, Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Winner

  • Sam Anderson

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Finalists

  • Brooke Allen
  • Ron Charles
  • Walter Kirn
  • Adam Kirsch

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

  • Emilie Buchwald