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.

2017 Winners & Finalists


  • Joan Silber, Improvement (Counterpoint)
  • Mohsin Hamid, Exit West (Riverhead)
  • Alice McDermott, The Ninth Hour (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
  • Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utomst Happiness (Knopf)
  • Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied (Scribner)


  • Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (Simon & Schuster)
  • Jack E. Davis, The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea (Liveright)
  • Masha Gessen, The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (Riverhead)
  • Kapka Kassabova, Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe (Graywolf)
  • Adam Rutherford, A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes (The Experiment)


  • Caroline Fraser, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Metropolitan Books)
  • Edmund Gordon, The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography (Oxford University Press)
  • Howard Markel, The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek (Pantheon)
  • William Taubman, Gorbachev: His Life and Times (W. W. Norton)
  • Kenneth Whyte, Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times (Knopf)


  • Xiaolu Guo, Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China (Grove)
  • Thi Bui, The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir (Abrams)
  • Roxane Gay, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (Harper)
  • Henry Marsh, Admissions: Life As a Brain Surgeon (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martins)
  • Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, The Girl From the Metropol Hotel: Growing Up in Communist Russia, translated by Anna Summers (Penguin)


  • Layli Long Soldier, Whereas (Graywolf)
  • Nuar Alsadir, Fourth Person Singular (Oxford University Press)
  • James Longenback, Earthling (W. W. Norton)
  • Frank Ormsby, The Darkness of Snow (Wake Forest University Press)
  • Ana Ristovic, Directions for Use, translated by Steven Teref and Maja Teref (Zephyr Press)


  • Carina Chocano, You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Trainwrecks, & Other Mixed Messages (HMH/Mariner)
  • Edwidge Danticat, The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story (Graywolf)
  • Camille T. Dungy, Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood and History (W.W. Norton)
  • Valeria Luiselli, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions (Coffee House)
  • Kevin Young, The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts and Fake News (Graywolf)

    John Leonard Prize

  • Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf)