The NBCC awards will be presented March 12, 2020, at the New School in New York City.
On Saturday, January 12, the board of the National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its 2019 awards in six categories: Autobiography, Biography, Criticism, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry. The winners will be announced at a celebration on March 12 in New York. In addition, the recipients of three annual honors, the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and the John Leonard Award for Best First Book were announced.
San Antonio poet Naomi Shihab Nye has been awarded the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. The Yellow House (Grove Press) by Sarah M. Broom, alumnus of the University of North Texas, has been awarded the John Leonard Award for Best First Book. Go Ahead in the Rain (University of Texas Press), by Hanif Abdurraqib, is nominated in Criticism.
Here is the full list of 2019 nominees and special award winners:
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday)
Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men’s Lives by Walt Odets (Farrar, Straus and Girioux)
No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us by Rachel Louise Snyder (Bloomsbury)
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)
The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing
The Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing is an annual award recognizing 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, and comes with a cash prize of $1,000 funded by board member Gregg Barrios. The winner of the 2019 Balakian Prize is Katy Waldman.
The Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement
The Sandrof Award is given to a person or institution — a writer, publisher, critic, or editor, among others — who has, over time, made significant contributions to book culture. The recipient of the 2019 Sandrof Award is Naomi Shihab Nye.
The John Leonard Award for Best First Book
The 2019 John Leonard Prize for Best First Book, which is selected by the organization’s membership, goes to The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom, published by Grove.
The NBCC awards will be presented March 12, 2020, at the New School in New York City. They are preceded by a finalists’ reading on March 11. Both events are free and open to the public.