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.

2014 Winners & Finalists

Fiction Winner

  • Marilynne Robinson, Lila (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Fiction Finalists

  • Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman (Grove Press)
  • Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings (Riverhead Books)
  • Lily King, Euphoria (Atlantic Monthly Press)
  • Chang-rae Lee, On Such a Full Sea (Riverhead Books)

General Nonfiction Winner

  • David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation (Alfred A. Knopf)

General Nonfiction Finalists

  • Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book (Pantheon)
  • Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (Henry Holt & Co.)
  • Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer (Belknap Press/Harvard University Press)
  • Hector Tobar, Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle that Set Them Free (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Biography Winner

  • John Lahr, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh (W.W. Norton & Co.)

Biography Finalists

  • Ezra Greenspan, William Wells Brown: An African American Life (W.W. Norton & Co.)
  • S.C. Gwynne, Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson (Scribner)
  • Ian S. MacNiven, “Literchoor Is My Beat”: A Life of James Laughlin, Publisher of New Directions (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Miriam Pawel, The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography (Bloomsbury)


  • Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Bloomsbury)

Autobiography/Memoir Finalists

  • Blake Bailey, The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait (W.W. Norton & Co.)
  • Lacy M. Johnson, The Other Side (Tin House)
  • Gary Shteyngart, Little Failure (Random House)
  • Meline Toumani, There Was and There Was Not (Metropolitan Books)

Poetry Winner

  • Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press)

Poetry Finalists

  • Saeed Jones, Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press)
  • Willie Perdomo, The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (Penguin Books)
  • Christian Wiman, Once in the West (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • Jake Adam York, Abide (Southern Illinois University Press)

Criticism Winner

  • Ellen Willis, The Essential Ellen Willis, edited by Nona Willis Aronowitz (University of Minnesota Press)

Criticism Finalists

  • Eula Biss, On Immunity: An Innoculation (Graywolf Press)
  • Vikram Chandra, Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty (Graywolf Press)
  • Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press)
  • Lynne Tillman, What Would Lynne Tillman Do? (Red Lemonade)

John Leonard Prize

  • Phil Klay, Redeployment (Penguin Press)

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Winner

  • Alexandra Schwartz

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing Finalists

  • Charles Finch
  • B. K. Fischer
  • Benjamin Moser
  • Lisa Russ Spaar

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

  • Toni Morrison