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.

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