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.

2013 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (Knopf)

Fiction Finalists

  • Alice McDermott, Someone (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Javier Marias, The Infatuations (Knopf)
  • Ruth Ozeki, A Tale For The Time Being (Viking)
  • Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch (Little, Brown)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • Sheri Fink, Five Days At Memorial: Life And Death In A Storm-Ravaged Hospital (Crown)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Kevin Cullen And Shelley Murphy, Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster And The Manhunt That Brought Him To Justice (Norton)
  • David Finkel, Thank You For Your Service (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • George Packer, The Unwinding: An Inner History Of The New America (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Lawrence Wright, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood And The Prison Of Belief (Knopf)

Biography Winner

  • Leo Damrosch, Jonathan Swift: His Life And His World (Yale University Press)

Biography Finalists

  • Scott Anderson, Lawrence In Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly And The Making Of The Modern Middle East (Doubleday)
  • John Eliot Gardiner, Bach: Music In The Castle Of Heaven (Knopf)
  • Linda Leavell, Holding On Upside Down: The Life And Work Of Marianne Moore (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Mark Thompson, Birth Certificate: The Story Of Danilo Kis (Cornell University Press)


  • Amy Wilentz, Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti (Simon & Schuster)

Autobiography/Memoir Finalists

  • Sonali Deraniyagala, Wave (Knopf)
  • Aleksandar Hemon, The Book Of My Lives (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby (Viking)
  • Jesmyn Ward, Men We Reaped (Bloomsbury)

Poetry Winner

  • Frank Bidart, Metaphysical Dog (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Poetry Finalists

  • Lucie Brock-Broido, Stay, Illusion (Knopf)
  • Denise Duhamel, Blowout (University Of Pittsburgh Press)
  • Bob Hicok, Elegy Owed (Copper Canyon)
  • Carmen Gimenez Smith, Milk And Filth (University Of Arizona Press)

Criticism Winner

  • Franco Moretti, Distant Reading (Verso)

Criticism Finalists

  • Hilton Als, White Girls (Mcsweeney’s)
  • Mary Beard, Confronting The Classics: Traditions, Adventures And Innovations (Liveright)
  • Jonathan Franzen, The Kraus Project: Essays By Karl Kraus, Translated And Annotated By Jonathan Franzen With Paul Reiter And Daniel Kehlmann (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Janet Malcolm, Forty-One False Starts: Essays On Artists And Writers (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

John Leonard Prize

  • Anthony Marra, A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena (Hogarth)

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Winner

  • Katherine A. Powers

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Finalists

  • Ruth Franklin
  • James Marcus
  • Roxana Robinson
  • Alexandra Schwartz

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

  • Rolando Hinojosa-Smith