Announcing the National Book Critics Circle Awards

Chris Schluep on March 13, 2020
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The 2019 National Books Critics Circle Award winners have been announced. The awards have been dedicated to "honoring outstanding writing and fostering a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature since 1974." The finalists were announced in January and are listed below. Winners are listed in bold, and their covers are shown.

In addition, Sarah M. Broom's The Yellow House received the John Leonard Prize for debut book, New Yorker staff writer Katy Waldman was awarded the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, and Naomi Shihab Nye received the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.


Autobiography

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Five Days Gone: The Mystery of My Mother’s Disappearance as a Child by Laura Cumming (Scribner)

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow (Little, Brown)

Sounds Like Titanic: A Memoir by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman (W. W. Norton)

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob (One World)

Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller (Viking)



Biography

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Gods of the Upper Air: How A Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century by Charles King (Doubleday)

The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth by Josh Levin (Little, Brown)

L.E.L.: The Lost Life and Scandalous Death of Letitia Elizabeth Landon, the Celebrated “Female Byron” by Lucasta Miller (Knopf)

Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer (Knopf)

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell (Viking)


Criticism

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Go Ahead in the Rain by Hanif Abdurraqib (University of Texas Press)

Essays One by Lydia Davis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval by Saidiya Hartman (W.W. Norton)

Hot, Cold, Heavy, Light, 100 Art Writings 1988-2018 by Peter Schjeldahl (Abrams)

Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin (Transit Books)


Fiction

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Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat (Knopf)

Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg (Scribner)

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (Knopf)

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)


Nonfiction

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Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future by Kate Brown (W.W. Norton)

The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution by Peter Hessler (Penguin Press)

Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men’s Lives by Walt Odets (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday)

No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us by Rachel Louise Snyder (Bloomsbury)


Poetry

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The Tradition by Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon Press)

Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky (Graywolf Press)

Magical Negro by Morgan Parker (Tin House)

Dunce by Mary Ruefle (Wave Books)

Doomstead Days by Brian Teare (Nightboat Books)



John Leonard Prize for debut book

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The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom


The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award

Naomi Shihab Nye




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