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.

2023 Winners & Finalists


  • Teju Cole, Tremor (Random House)
  • Daniel Mason, North Woods (Random House)
  • Lorrie Moore, I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home (Knopf)
  • Marie NDiaye, translation by Jordan Stump, Vengeance Is Mine (Knopf)
  • Justin Torres, Blackouts (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


  • Roxanna Asgarian, We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Kerry Howley, Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs (Knopf)
  • Dina Nayeri, Who Gets Believed? When the Truth Isn’t Enough (Catapult Books)
  • Jeff Sharlet, The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War (W. W. Norton)
  • Christina Sharpe, Ordinary Notes (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


  • Jonathan Eig, King: A Life (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Gregg Hecimovich, The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of the Bondwoman’s Narrative (Ecco)
  • Yunte Huang, Daughter of the Dragon: Anna May Wong’s Rendezvous with American History (Liveright)
  • Rachel Shteir, Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disruptor (Yale University Press)
  • Jonny Steinberg, Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage (Knopf)


  • Susan Kiyo Ito, I Would Meet You Anywhere: A Memoir (The Ohio State University Press)
  • David Mas Masumoto, with artwork by Patricia Wakida, Secret Harvests: A Hidden Story of Separation and the Resilience of a Family Farm (Red Hen Press)
  • Ahmed Naji, translation by Katharine Halls, Rotten Evidence: Reading and Writing in an Egyptian Prison (McSweeney’s)
  • Safiya Sinclair, How to Say Babylon: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster)
  • Matthew Zapruder, Story of a Poem: A Memoir (Unnamed Press)


  • Saskia Hamilton, All Souls (Graywolf Press)
  • Kim Hyesoon, translation by Don Mee Choi, Phantom Pain Wings (New Directions)
  • Romeo Oriogun, The Gathering of Bastards (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Robyn Schiff, Information Desk (Penguin Books)
  • Charif Shanahan, Trace Evidence (Tin House)


  • Nicholas Dames, The Chapter: A Segmented History from Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century (Princeton University Press)
  • Myriam Gurba, Creep: Accusations and Confessions (Avid Reader Press)
  • Naomi Klein, Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Grace E. Lavery, Pleasure and Efficacy: Of Pen Names, Cover Versions, and Other Trans Techniques (Princeton University Press)
  • Tina Post, Deadpan: The Aesthetics of Black Inexpression (NYU Press)

    John Leonard Prize

  • Ariana Benson, Black Pastoral (University of Georgia Press)
  • Emilie Boone, A Nimble Arc: James Van Der Zee and Photography (Duke University Press)
  • Victor Heringer, translation by James Young, The Love of Singular Men (New Directions)
  • Tahir Hamut Izgil, translation by Joshua L. Freeman, Waiting to Be Arrested at Night: a Uyghur Poet’s Memoir of China’s Genocide (Penguin Press)
  • Donovan X. Ramsey, When Crack Was King (One World)
  • Martin J. Siegel, Judgment and Mercy: The Turbulent Life and Times of the Judge Who Condemned the Rosenbergs (Cornell University Press)

    Gregg Barrios Book in Translation

  • Bachtyar Ali, translation by Kareem Abdulrahman, The Last Pomegranate Tree (Archipelago Books)
  • Kim Hyesoon, translation by Don Mee Choi, Phantom Pain Wings (New Directions)
  • Tezer Özlü, translation by Maureen Freely, Cold Nights of Childhood (Transit Books)
  • Norman Erikson Pasaribu, translation by Tiffany Tsao, Happy Stories, Mostly (Feminist Press)
  • Dorothy Tse, translation by Natascha Bruce, Owlish (Graywolf Press)
  • Azo Vauguy, translation by Todd Fredson , Zakwato & Loglêdou’s Peril (Action Books)

    Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

  • Becca Rothfeld
  • Rhoda Feng
  • Christoph Irmscher
  • Sophie Pinkham
  • Audrey Wollen

    Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Judy Blume

    Toni Morrison Achievement Award

  • American Library Association