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.

2019 Winners & Finalists


  • Myla Goldberg, Feast Your Eyes (Scribner)
  • Ben Lerner, The Topeka School (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Valeria Luiselli, Lost Children Archive (Knopf)
  • Edwidge Danticat, Everything Inside (Knopf)
  • Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys (Doubleday)


  • Kate Brown, Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future (W.W. Norton)
  • Peter Hessler, The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution (Penguin Press)
  • Patrick Radden Keefe, Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (Doubleday)
    Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday)
  • Walt Odets, Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men’s Lives (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Rachel Louise Snyder, No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us (Bloomsbury)


  • Josh Levin, The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth (Little, Brown)
  • Charles King, Gods of the Upper Air: How A Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century (Doubleday)
  • Lucasta Miller, L.E.L.: The Lost Life and Scandalous Death of Letitia Elizabeth Landon, the Celebrated “Female Byron” (Knopf)
  • George Packer, Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century (Knopf)
  • Sonia Purnell, A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II (Viking)


  • Laura Cumming, Five Days Gone: The Mystery of My Mother’s Disappearance as a Child (Scribner)
  • Ronan Farrow, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators (Little, Brown)
  • Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman, Sounds Like Titanic: A Memoir (W. W. Norton)
  • Mira Jacob, Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations (One World)
  • Chanel Miller, Know My Name: A Memoir (Viking)
    Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller (Viking)


  • Jericho Brown, The Tradition (Copper Canyon Press)
  • Ilya Kaminsky, Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press)
  • Morgan Parker, Magical Negro (Tin House)
    Magical Negro by Morgan Parker (Tin House Books)
  • Mary Ruefle, Dunce (Wave Books)
  • Brian Teare, Doomstead Days (Nightboat Books)


  • Hanif Abdurraqib, Go Ahead in the Rain (University of Texas Press)
  • Lydia Davis, Essays One (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval (W.W. Norton)
  • Peter Schjeldahl, Hot, Cold, Heavy, Light, 100 Art Writings 1988-2018 (Abrams)
  • Maria Tumarkin, Axiomatic (Transit Books)

    John Leonard Prize

  • Sarah M. Broom, The Yellow House: A Memoir (Grove)
  • Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Fleishman Is In Trouble (Random House)
  • Chia-Chia Lin, The Unpassing (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • T Kira Madden, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls: A Memoir (Bloomsbury)
  • Julia Phillips, Disappearing Earth (Knopf)
  • Jia Tolentino, Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion (Random House)
  • Bryan Washington, Lot: Stories (Riverhead)

    Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

  • Katy Waldman
  • David Biespiel
  • Josephine Livingstone
  • Wendy Smith
  • David L. Ulin

    Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Naomi Shihab Nye