The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

The NBCC awards the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing each year to recognize outstanding work by a member of the NBCC. The citation is awarded in honor of Nona Balakian, a founding member of the National Book Critics Circle, where she served as the board’s first secretary. The eminent critic and longtime editor at the New York Times Book Review also served on the Pulitzer Prize committee, the Board of Directors of PEN, and the Authors Guild board. She was the author of Critical Encounters: Essays (1978), and co-author (with Charles Simmons) of The Creative Present (1969). Since 2012, the Balakian Citation has carried with it a $1,000 cash prize donated by current Board member Gregg Barrios.

The winner of the 2019 Balakian Prize is Katy Waldman.

Waldman is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where her award-winning criticism appeared.

Finalists for the 2019 Balakian Prize were David Biespiel, Josephine Livingstone, Wendy Smith and David L. Ulin.

Submission Guidelines

These guidelines and deadlines were for 2019; updated guidelines will be posted in the fall of 2020.

You must be a member of the NBCC to be considered. If you are not a member, you can join online before December 9, 2019 in order to be eligible for the award. All submitted reviews must have been published between December 1, 2018 and November 30, 2019. PLEASE NOTE: The period for eligible reviews has changed from the calendar year to the above in order to allow reviews published throughout December to qualify.

2019 Submission Procedures

Submissions must be made by email. Emails must be time-stamped no later than midnight (PST) Monday, December 9 midnight, PST, 2019

All submissions must be transmitted electronically by email.

What to submit via email: Send up to five book reviews (all published between December 1, 2018, and November 30, 2019) of no more than 5,000 words collectively. The total word count for the submissions must not exceed 5,000, or the entire submission is disqualified from consideration for the award. In your email, include a note listing the venue; title and word count of each piece submitted.

Please attach PDFs or screenshots of your book reviews as they appeared online or in print. Also, provide a link if available online. PLEASE NOTE: A link alone is not sufficient as some venues have paywalls.

Please put 2019 Balakian Award in the subject line of your email.

For questions about the award and submission process, e-mail the Balakian Committee chair, Katherine A. Powers:

Please submit all materials for the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing to each individual member of the 2019 Balakian committee.

2019 Balakian Committee:

Katherine A. Powers, Chair

Gregg Barrios

Mary Ann Gwinn

Ismail Muhammad

Walton Muyumba

Carlin Romano

Michael Shaub

Elizabeth Taylor

David Varno