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.

2010 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad (Knopf)

Fiction Finalists

  • Jonathan Franzen, Freedom (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • David Grossman, To the End of the Land (Knopf)
  • Hans Keilson, Comedy in a Minor Key, tr. by Damion Searls (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Paul Murray, Skippy Dies (Faber & Faber)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (Random House)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Barbara Demick, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea (Spiegel & Grau)
  • S.C. Gwynne, Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History (Scribner)
  • Jennifer Homans, Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet (Random House)
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scribner)

Biography Winner

  • Sarah Bakewell, How To Live: Or, A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer (Other Press)

Biography Finalists

  • Selina Hastings, The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham (Random House)
  • Yunte Huang, Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous With American History (W.W. Norton)
  • Thomas Powers, The Killing of Crazy Horse (Knopf)
  • Tom Segev, Simon Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends (Doubleday)


  • Darin Strauss, Half a Life (McSweeney’s)

Autobiography/Memoir Finalists

  • Kai Bird, Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956–1978 (Scribner)
  • David Dow, The Autobiography of an Execution (Twelve)
  • Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir (Twelve)
  • Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, Hiroshima in the Morning (Feminist Press)
  • Patti Smith, Just Kids (Ecco)

Poetry Winner

  • C. D. Wright’s One with Others: [a little book of her days] (Copper Canyon)

Poetry Finalists

  • Anne Carson, Nox (New Directions)
  • Kathleen Graber, The Eternal City (Princeton University Press)
  • Terrance Hayes, Lighthead (Penguin Poets)
  • Kay Ryan, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (Grove Press)

Criticism Winner

  • Clare Cavanagh, Lyric Poetry and Modern Politics: Russia, Poland, and the West (Yale University Press)

Criticism Finalists

  • Elif Batuman, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Terry Castle, The Professor and Other Writings (Harper)
  • Susie Linfield, The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence (University of Chicago Press)
  • Ander Monson, Vanishing Point: Not a Memoir (Graywolf)

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Winner

  • Parul Sehgal

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Finalists

  • Sarah L. Courteau
  • William Deresiewicz
  • Ruth Franklin
  • Kathryn Harrison

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

  • Dalkey Archive Press