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 two prizes voted on by membership: the John Leonard Prize for the best first book in any genre and the Gregg Barrios Book in Translation Prize, for the best book of any genre translated into English and published in the United States. We also award 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.

2022 Winners & Finalists


  • Percival Everett, Dr. No (Graywolf)
  • Jon Fosse, trans. by Damion Searls, A New Name (Transit Books)
  • Mieko Kawakami, trans. by Sam Bett and David Boyd , All the Lovers in the Night (Europa Editions)
  • Ling Ma, Bliss Montage: Stories (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Namwali Serpell, The Furrows (Hogarth)


  • Isaac Butler, The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to Act (Bloomsbury)
  • Kelly Lytle Hernández, Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands (Norton)
  • Joseph Osmundson, Virology: Essays for the Living, the Dead, and the Small Things in Between (Norton)
  • Annie Proulx, Fen, Bog, & Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the Climate Crisis (Scribner)
  • Ed Yong, An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us (Random House)


  • Kerri K. Greenidge, The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family (Liveright)
  • Jennifer Homans, Mr. B: George Balanchine's 20th Century (Random House)
  • Clare Mac Cumhaill and Rachael Wiseman, Metaphysical Animals: How Four Women Brought Philosophy Back to Life (Doubleday)
  • Aaron Sachs, Up from the Depths: Herman Melville, Lewis Mumford, and Rediscovery in Dark Times (Princeton University Press)
  • Beverly Gage, G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century (Viking)


  • Jazmina Barrera, trans. by Christina MacSweeney, Linea Nigra: An Essay on Pregnancy and Earthquakes (Two Lines Press)
  • Hua Hsu, Stay True: A Memoir (Doubleday)
  • Dorthe Nors, trans. by Caroline Waight , A Line in the World: A Year on the North Sea Coast (Graywolf)
  • Darryl Pinckney, Come Back in September: A Literary Education on West Sixty-Seventh Street, Manhattan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Ingrid Rojas Contreras, The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir (Doubleday)


  • Mosab Abu Toha, Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear (City Lights)
  • Cynthia Cruz, Hotel Oblivion (Four Way)
  • David Hernandez, Hello I Must be Going (Pitt)
  • Paul Hlava Ceballos, banana [ ] (Pitt)
  • Bernadette Mayer, Milkweed Smithereens (New Directions)


  • Rachel Aviv, Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Timothy Bewes, Free Indirect: The Novel in a Postfictional Age (Columbia)
  • Peter Brooks, Seduced by Story: The Use and Abuse of Narrative (NYRB)
  • Margo Jefferson, Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir (Pantheon)
  • Alia Trabucco Zerán, trans. by Sophie Hughes , When Women Kill: Four Crimes Retold (Coffee House Press)

    John Leonard Prize

  • Jessamine Chan, The School for Good Mothers (S&S/Marysue Rucci Books)
  • Jonathan Escoffery, If I Survive You (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Tess Gunty, The Rabbit Hutch (Knopf)
  • Zain Khalid, Brother Alive (Grove)
  • Maud Newton, Ancestor Trouble (Random House)
  • Morgan Talty, Night of the Living Rez (Tin House)
  • Vauhini Vara, The Immortal King Rao (Norton)

    Gregg Barrios Book in Translation

  • Andrey Kurkov trans. by Boris Dralyuk, Grey Bees (Deep Vellum)
  • Olga Tokarczuk, trans. by Jennifer Croft, The Books of Jacob (Riverhead Books)
  • Maya Abu Al-Hayyat, trans. by Fady Joudah, You Can Be the Last Leaf (Milkweed Editions)
  • Irene Solà, trans. by Mara Faye Lethem, When I Sing, Mountains Dance (Graywolf Press)
  • Jazmina Barrera, trans. by Christina MacSweeney, Linea Nigra: An Essay on Pregnancy & Earthquakes (Two Lines Press)

    Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

  • Jennifer Wilson
    Jennifer posing with trophy
  • Sarah Chihaya
  • Christoph Irmscher
  • Lauren Michele Jackson
  • Ruth Margalit

    Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Joy Harjo
    Joy Harjo with trophy

    Toni Morrison Achievement Award

  • City Lights

    NBCC Service Award

  • Barbara Hoffert