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.

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