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.

2011 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Edith Pearlman, Binocular Vision (Lookout Books)

Fiction Finalists

  • Teju Cole, Open City (Random House)
  • Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Alan Hollinghurst, The Stranger’s Child (Knopf)
  • Dana Spiotta, Stone Arabia (Scribner)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Maya Jasanoff, Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War (Knopf)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Amanda Foreman, A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War (Random)
  • James Gleick, The Information (Pantheon)
  • Adam Hochschild, To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • John Jeremiah Sullivan, Pulphead: Essays (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux)

Biography Winner

  • John Lewis Gaddis, George F. Kennan: An American Life (Penguin Press)

Biography Finalists

  • Mary Gabriel, Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of the Revolution (Little, Brown)
  • Paul Hendrickson, Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961 (Knopf)
  • Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking)
  • Ezra F. Vogel, Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China (Belknap Press: Harvard University Press)


  • Mira Bartók, The Memory Palace (Free Press)

Autobiography/Memoir Finalists

  • Diane Ackerman, One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, A Marriage, and the Language of Healing (W.W. Norton)
  • Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America (Little, Brown)
  • Luis J. Rodríguez, It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing (Touchstone)
  • Deb Olin Unferth, Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War (Henry Holt)

Poetry Winner

  • Laura Kasischke, Space, in Chains (Copper Canyon Press)

Poetry Finalists

  • Forrest Gander, Core Samples from the World (New Directions)
  • Aracelis Girmay, Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions)
  • Yusef Komunyakaa, The Chameleon Couch (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
  • Bruce Smith, Devotions (University of Chicago Press)

Criticism Winner

  • Geoff Dyer, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition: Selected Essays and Reviews (Graywolf)

Criticism Finalists

  • David Bellos, Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything (Faber & Faber)
  • Jonathan Lethem, The Ecstasy of Influence (Doubleday)
  • Dubravka Ugresic, Karaoke Culture (Open Letter)
  • Ellen Willis, Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music (University of Minnesota Press)

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Winner

  • Kathryn Schulz

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Finalists

  • William Deresiewicz
  • Ruth Franklin
  • Garth Risk Hallberg
  • Kathryn Harrison

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

  • Robert B. Silvers